WHO says the outbreak of Ebola is moving too fast to control
In a speech to the three countries in West Africa that have been hit hard by a recent Ebola outbreak – Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – the director of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the efforts to stop the spread of the deadly virus have been insufficient.
“This is an unprecedented outbreak accompanied by unprecedented challenges. And these challenges are extraordinary,” Director General Margaret Chan of the WHO told leaders of the afflicted counties in a speech in Guinea’s capital city Conakry.
“This outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it. If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries,” warned Chan.
The deadly virus has already infected 1,323 people and has led to the death of 729 others across West Africa, according to the WHO’s latest tally. Sierra Leone accounts for most of the infections while Guinea has suffered the most deaths, 339 so far.
This particular outbreak, the largest in history, has been wreaking havoc across the region. Unlike many of the previous Ebola outbreaks, which have occurred in more isolated areas, this outbreak has been spreading to the densely populated cities of West Africa which makes it easier for the virus to spread and harder for health officials to contain.
Chan attributes a lack of public awareness to the speed at which the virus is spreading. In her speech, Chan warned of people who forgo isolation wards and professional medical help in order to receive care at home from family members where It can be spread to others much more easily.
“Such hiding of cases defeats strategies for rapid containment,” Chan said. “Dignified burial makes an essential contribution to public trust and eases family grieving, but this must be done safely. Traditional funeral practices are a well-documented spark that ignites further chains of transmission.”
Read more about the story at The New York Times.