As Ebola Spread Outpaces Control Effort, WHO Plans $100 Million Response

A doctor in protective gear disinfects patients' dishes on March 31, 2014 inside the medical humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) isolation ward in the southern Guinean town of Gueckedou. Aid organisation Doctors Without Borders said on March 31 an Ebola outbreak suspected of killing dozens in Guinea was an "unprecedented epidemic" as Liberia confirmed its first cases of the deadly contagion. Guinea's health ministry this year has reported 122 "suspicious cases" of viral haemorrhagic fever, including 78 deaths, with 22 of the samples taken from patients testing positive for the highly contagious tropical pathogen. AFP PHOTO / SEYLLOU        (Photo: Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)

As Ebola Spread Outpaces Control Effort, WHO Plans $100 Million Response

Since March 2014, about 1,323 confirmed and suspected cases have been reported and more than 700 people have died.

Published August 1, 2014

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control it, according to the head of the World Health Organization. About 1,323 confirmed and suspected cases have been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since March 2014.

Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of WHO, met with the presidents of those West African nations on Friday in the Guinean capita,l Conakry, to finalize a $100 million plan to combat the spread of the virus that has claimed more than 700 lives.

Among the victims are more than 40 health workers, and several American and other international relief workers have been infected. An unidentified, infected U.S. aid worker was recently flown in for treatment at a high-security ward at Emory University Hospital.

Chan reportedly said that if the unprecedented outbreak continues to worsen, the resulting lives lost and socioeconomic disruption could be “catastrophic.”

“Right now, it is gradually becoming a living hell,” Rodney Sieh, a newspaper editor in Liberia, told BET.com.

“Restaurants, for example, are losing business because people are afraid to eat out now,” Sieh said. “No one is really buying much, except for essentials, Clorox and sanitizers. Other preventive agents against Ebola are flying off the shelves of supermarkets and stores.”

With no vaccine or cure, the Ebola virus spreads by contact with infected bodily fluids, blood, organs or contaminated environments. Victims first display flu-like symptoms that can lead to bleeding from areas like the eyes and gums, as well as internal bleeding and, possibly, organ failure.

Patients who receive early treatment have a better chance of survival. Still, Ebola kills up to 90 percent of those infected.

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(Photo: Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)

Written by Patrice Peck

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