News / Health

    No Quick End in Sight for Ebola Epidemic in West Africa

    The Arwa clinic, center,  that was closed after the clinic Doctor got infected by the Ebola virus in the capital city of Freetown, Sierra Leone, July 15, 2014.
    The Arwa clinic, center, that was closed after the clinic Doctor got infected by the Ebola virus in the capital city of Freetown, Sierra Leone, July 15, 2014.
    Lisa Schlein

    The World Health Organization says the Ebola epidemic circulating in three West African countries shows no signs of diminishing and fears it is likely to continue for many months.  Latest WHO figures put the number of cases of this deadly disease at 964, including 603 deaths. 

    The deadly Ebola virus is continuing to spread in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia nearly four months after it was first detected in remote forest communities of Guinea.  There is no vaccine or cure for the virus, which is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person.  

    The World Health Organization reports Ebola victims in West Africa are dying at a rate of 60 percent.  WHO spokesman Dan Epstein said it probably would be several months before governments and health agencies got a grip on this epidemic and cases of the disease started going down.

    “It is pretty horrifying, I think, anytime you have an epidemic that has a case fatality rate of above 50 percent where more than half the people infected die, it is horrifying.  So, of course, we are very worried and that is why we are increasing our efforts.  In terms of how long it will take, it is very hard to predict.  It depends on our success in the five important areas of epidemiology, contact tracing, education very importantly, community level participation, changing of habits of burial practices,” he said.  

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge

    There have been periodic outbreaks of Ebola in Africa since it was first detected in the mid-1970s in the Democratic Republic of Congo, then known as Zaire.  This is the first outbreak of the disease in West Africa and it is proving to be the deadliest on record.  

    Since people have no experience with the disease, they do not know how the virus is transmitted.  People often refuse treatment because they are suspicious of health workers.  

    x

    Epstein said this was a huge impediment toward stopping its spread.   He said it was important to trace all people who have been in contact with an infected person in order to contain the disease.  

    He told VOA it was very difficult for foreign health workers to get into communities because they were viewed with hostility, intimidated and often driven away by the residents.

    “It is really kind of a matter of rumor control.  It is myths and facts.  So we have to dispel these myths about Ebola that are prevalent and that are circulating as rumors that are very damaging.  You know like the myth that foreigners are bringing Ebola to your villages or that if you go to the hospital, you will die and they will take your organs.  Or crazy bits like that are hard to dispel."

    "So, it is early to say whether we are being successful, but we are certainly increasing our effort in education and social mobilization in villages in all the three countries,” he said. 

    Epstein said WHO was reaching out to religious and traditional leaders for help in gaining the confidence of villagers so health workers could break this damaging cycle of suspicion and bring the epidemic to an end.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Heidi from: Santa Cruz
    July 15, 2014 10:33 PM
    So Gingrey from Georgia , who said he was warned by homeland security that the children from Honduras, El Salvador , and Guatemala , could carry the Ebola virus, originally came from Africa? Listen to Pope Francis. Xenophobic racism is Anti-American. Help The children, everywhere, and address the violence in Central America so they stay home in safety.
    In Response

    by: jerry Mcdowel from: anne arbor
    July 16, 2014 6:05 AM
    william branham cult is west africa is the people rsponsible for this evil disease spreading..many members have ebola and they are not telling the authorities...they have sick hidden away in south africa...we should ban this religion from coming to the EU AND USA

    by: plattenfeld from: Japan
    July 15, 2014 9:41 AM
    Aren't there any research teams or pharmaceutical companies that are seeking to make a novel anti-viral drug that can cure Ebola virus disease?
    In Response

    by: Dennis from: California
    July 15, 2014 12:53 PM
    Yes, they are working on vaccines and drugs, but the work is very difficult, as the virus is so dangerous.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora