News / Africa

Ebola Grips West Africa

The image of Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, left, appears on a public information banner warning people about the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Aug. 8, 2014.
The image of Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, left, appears on a public information banner warning people about the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Aug. 8, 2014.
VOA News

Liberia's president is reassuring the country's healthcare workers that more resources for the battle against Ebola are on the way.  

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf met with healthcare workers Saturday in Monrovia.  The workers were demanding more pay and better working conditions.

The president promised a quick response to the pay grievance, but asked for patience with other demands, including for more ambulances.

Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have together lost nearly 1,000 lives to Ebola. Guinea announced Saturday it was closing its borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone.  

One of the most recent fatalities was a Congolese nun, who contracted Ebola while working with Spanish Catholic missionaries in Liberia.

There have also been at least two Ebola deaths in Nigeria, which along with the other three countries, has declared a state of emergency to authorize additional funds to address the crisis.

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is on pace to infect more people than all previous outbreaks of the virus combined. The disease has no known cure or vaccine.

In response to the outbreak, the World Health Organization has declared the epidemic an international health emergency.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has activated its emergency operation center at the highest level. CDC chief Dr. Thomas Frieden said his agency would soon have 50 disease experts in West Africa, and that he was confident the virus would not result in any major outbreak in the United States.

The World Health Organization Friday reported the number of Ebola cases in the four West African countries affected stands at 1,779, and that 961 of those people have already died.  

WHO director Dr. Margaret Chan said the four nations "do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity," and appealed for greater international aid.

Ebola patients may experience fever, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches and uncontrollable bleeding from all openings in the body, including the eyes, mouth and ears. Initial symptoms are often similar to malaria.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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