News / Health

US Health Official Warns ‘Window of Opportunity’ to Combat Ebola Closing

Health Officials: Ebola Spiraling Out of Controli
X
September 03, 2014 4:29 AM
Health officials say the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is spiraling out of control and threatening to spread to other continents. The head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday called for an urgent and concerted effort worldwide to contain the deadly virus. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Related video report by VOA's Zlatica Hoke.
Victor Beattie

The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Tom Frieden, warned that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will worsen in coming weeks “significantly.” Frieden said a “massive” global response is needed now to combat what he calls the world’s first Ebola epidemic.

Frieden, who just returned from the most affected West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, said that despite tremendous efforts by health care workers, the number of Ebola cases continues to increase rapidly. Speaking at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Frieden said the number of cases, now more than 3,000, is expected to increase rapidly in coming weeks.

"There is a window of opportunity to tamp this down, but that window is closing.  We need action now to scale up the response," said Frieden.

Frieden called the current outbreak the first epidemic of Ebola the world has ever known.

"It’s spreading from just two roots; people caring for other people in hospitals or homes and unsafe burial practices where people may come into contact with body fluids from somebody who’s died from Ebola. That is really the Achilles’ heel of this virus. We know how it spreads. We know how to stop it from spreading. The challenge is to do that everywhere it’s needed," said Frieden.

Frieden warned that the number of Ebola cases is rising so rapidly that each day of delay in responding to it makes it more difficult to stop it from spreading. The CDC director said what is needed is a major inflow of resources, technical experts and a global, coordinated, unified approach because this is, he pointed out, not just an African problem, but a global problem.

A similar message was conveyed to the United Nations Tuesday. Joanne Liu, president of the medical charity Doctors without Borders (MSF), said the world is losing the battle to contain Ebola. She called the virus a transnational threat.

"Riots are breaking out, isolation centers are overwhelmed, and health workers on the front lines are becoming infected and are dying in shocking numbers. Others have fled in fear leaving people without care for even the most common illnesses [and] entire health systems have crumbled," said Liu.

Liu said isolation centers are now reduced to places where people go to die alone, where little more than palliative care is offered.

David Nabarro, a British physician who has been designated the UN’s System Coordinator on Ebola, also visited West Africa. He said every nation must ask what it can do to help.

“If we don’t get on top of this outbreak as a global community, then this could affect all of us in unexpected ways. It’s not somebody else’s problem, it’s our collective problem," said Nabarro.

Before leaving for Europe, President Obama videotaped a message to West Africa.

"On behalf of the American people, I want you to know that our prayers are with those of you who have lost loved ones during this terrible outbreak of Ebola," said Obama.

Obama sought to dispel myths surrounding the spread of Ebola, saying infection only comes through contact with someone or something infected by the virus or the body fluids of someone who has died of Ebola.

"That’s why the disease is continuing to spread where patients are being cared for at home or during burials when family and friends lay their loved ones to rest," said Obama.

He said people can respect their traditions and honor their loved ones “without risking the lives of the living.” The president said stopping the disease will not be easy, but it can be done cooperatively.

U.S. health officials Tuesday announced a federal contract with California-based Mapp Biopharmaceuticals to speed development of ZMapp, an experimental drug that has yet to go through extensive human testing but has been rushed into use despite its limited availability.

Two American missionaries working in Liberia who contracted Ebola were given the drug and have recovered from their illnesses. One of those health care workers, Kent Brantly, told NBC television Tuesday he was not sure he would survive.

"I don’t think they ever said, ‘Kent, you are about to die.’ But I felt like I was about to die.  And, I said to the nurse who was taking care of me, ‘I’m sick, I have no reserve and I don’t know how long I can keep this up,’" recalled Brantly.

Brantly, who has been released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, said he is in “tearful prayer” for yet another American doctor, identified only as a male obstetrician, who has contracted Ebola in Liberia. He has isolated himself since the symptoms appeared. 

All three Americans, including Nancy Writebol, work for the North Carolina-based SIM International mission.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Just another Human from: Earth
September 03, 2014 6:07 PM
Black plague in Redux.


by: Anonymous
September 03, 2014 11:05 AM
this is scary and frightening but we must let people in Africa know that we are praying for them - I hope they have patience and foresight and strength to overcome, help overcome, and help those that need to overcome this terrible disease - too many are getting sick and it's overwhelming - they need food, where can we donate to help - please feed them at least while they try hard to hold on - we pray daily ...


by: Sera from: USA
September 03, 2014 10:19 AM
Health workers in *** A L L *** industrialized nations need to go on strike for their coworkers doing the hard work to save the world in Africa. REFUSE TO TREAT THE RICH, and then I bet the international community will more quickly find a way to help not just treat, but contain the ebola virus in Africa (and elsewhere).

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid