WHO: Ebola Surging Beyond Control
Medic-ALL(13:09:2014) via CBC News:
Ebola virus cases in West Africa are rising faster than the ability to contain them, the World Health Organization says, as experts warn that the exponential rise could become a worldwide disaster.
The death toll has risen to more than 2,400 people out of 4,784 cases, WHO director general Margaret Chan told reporters at the UN health agency’s headquarters in in Geneva on Friday, noting the figures could be an underestimate.
In the three hardest hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the number of new patients is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them. We need to surge at least three to four times to catch up with the outbreaks," Chan said.
She called for urgent international support in the form of doctors, nurses, medical supplies and aid to the worst-affected countries.
Health-care workers have been infected with Ebola while treating patients in West Africa. Almost half of the 301 health-care workers who have developed the disease have died.
Chan welcomed Cuba's announcement that it will send 165 health-workers to fight the outbreak , but added that at least 500 doctors from abroad are needed.
An infectious disease expert warned in Friday’s New York Times that "the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done."
Michael Osterholm is the director of the Center for go backrian aid from countries and non-governmental groups. Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Ebola spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids, but Osterholm raised a possibility that he said virologists are loath to discuss openly but consider behind closed doors: the prospect that the Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air.
Osterholm cites a 2012 study by researchers at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg that showed the Ebola Zaire strain behind West Africa’s outbreak could spread by the respiratory route between pigs and monkeys.
The key to containing the outbreak, Osterholm stressed, is to beef up efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
To that end, he suggested that the United Nations take over the position of "command and control" to direct the efforts of medical, public health and humanitarian aid from countries and non-governmental groups.
Culled from CBC News