News / Africa

WHO Fears Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People

World Health Organization (WHO) Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward holds up a document titled "Ebola response roadmap" during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Aug. 28, 2014.
World Health Organization (WHO) Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward holds up a document titled "Ebola response roadmap" during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Aug. 28, 2014.
Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization is launching a so-called roadmap aimed at bringing the largest Ebola outbreak in history under control.  WHO warns it could take up to nine months, cost nearly a half-billion dollars, and cause thousands of deaths before the epidemic raging in West Africa ends. 

The World Health Organization reports the Ebola outbreak in four West African countries is spreading rapidly.  The ministries of health in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone report more than 3,000 confirmed cases of the disease, with 1,552 deaths.  WHO says the actual number of cases may be two to four times higher.
 

Ebola cases and deaths in West Africa, as of Aug. 28, 2014 updateEbola cases and deaths in West Africa, as of Aug. 28, 2014 update
x
Ebola cases and deaths in West Africa, as of Aug. 28, 2014 update
Ebola cases and deaths in West Africa, as of Aug. 28, 2014 update

It says nearly 40 percent of the reported cases have occurred within the past three weeks.

Given the intensity and acceleration of the disease, WHO warns the number of cases could exceed 20,000 over the next six months.   
 
WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Ayleward says the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is unlike any ever seen.  He says Ebola is not located in a single, remote forested area.  It is occurring in multiple hot spots within the affected countries, making it very difficult to contain the disease.
 
Ayleward says WHO's new action plan calls for a dramatic scale-up of treatment and management centers and emphasizes the need for safe burials.  
 
He says 750 international staff and 12,000 nationals working closely with people in Ebola-infected communities are needed to make the plan work.
 
"You cannot beat Ebola without the people involved.  This is not light talk," he said. "This is as essential as what WHO does, what the U.N. does, what MSF does, etc.  We need that local leadership because so many of the problems are rooted in fear, as you know.  So much of it is rooted in misunderstanding.  We need the people that they trust understanding the disease, understanding the messages, understanding the strategies, and especially understanding how to be safe."  
 
Financing

The operation is very big and expensive.  It will cost $489 million over the next six months.  Dr. Ayleward says that figure is based on the assumption that airplanes that have suspended flights to Ebola-affected countries will, once again, fly to these places.  
 
He says WHO currently is budgeting for a short-term air bridge to fly in essential staff and supplies.  However, he warns the operation costs will spiral upward if the air-bridge has to operate on a long-term basis.
 
Closing borders, a 'self-defeating strategy
'

Ayleward tells VOA there needs to be global preparedness given the potential for international spread of the virus, and that means there has to be preparedness in major transport hubs.
 
"Bans on travel and trade and the rest will not stop this virus, absolutely not.  In fact, you are more likely to compromise the ability to respond, to get more and more disease, more and more people trying to move," he said. "You are going to get yourself into trouble.  It is a self-defeating strategy to ban travel.  That is not the problem.  People with Ebola are symptomatic.  You can actually exit screen, put strong screening in place and then be able to substantively reduce that risk."  
 
The WHO roadmap will be complemented by the development of a separate U.N.-wide operation using the skills and capacities of other agencies, including logistics and transportation.  That operation will deliver essential services, such as food, water and sanitation, and primary health care.

Nigeria, DRC

Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) health workers prepare at ELWA's isolation camp during the visit of Senior United Nations (U.N.) System Coordinator for Ebola David Nabarro, at the camp in Monrovia Aug. 23, 2014.Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) health workers prepare at ELWA's isolation camp during the visit of Senior United Nations (U.N.) System Coordinator for Ebola David Nabarro, at the camp in Monrovia Aug. 23, 2014.
x
Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) health workers prepare at ELWA's isolation camp during the visit of Senior United Nations (U.N.) System Coordinator for Ebola David Nabarro, at the camp in Monrovia Aug. 23, 2014.
Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) health workers prepare at ELWA's isolation camp during the visit of Senior United Nations (U.N.) System Coordinator for Ebola David Nabarro, at the camp in Monrovia Aug. 23, 2014.

Earlier Thursday, Nigeria's Health Ministry reported two more cases of Ebola, bringing the country's total to 15.

Officials said Thursday that a man working for the Economic Community of West African States recovered from an Ebola infection without treatment, but that his doctor died last week from the virus.

Six people have now died from Ebola in Nigeria during the latest outbreak.

The WHO said Wednesday that 80 people are also being monitored for Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo in an outbreak that is not related to the one in West Africa.

USAID funding

Meanwhile, the U.S. Agency for International Development is providing an additional $5 million to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  

The new funding will be used for health equipment, training of health care workers and support of public outreach campaigns.
USAID has now committed nearly $20 million to combat Ebola since the outbreak was first reported in March.

A shortage of protective equipment is one of the factors contributing to the epidemic.

Potential Ebola vaccine set for human trials

Safety tests for an experimental Ebola vaccine are being fast-tracked, meaning trials on humans could start in weeks.

British drug company GlaxoSmithKline said Thursday the vaccine is expected to be given to healthy volunteers in Britain and the United States in mid-September and then to people in Gambia and Mali.
 
GlaxoSmithKline is working with the U.S. National Institutes of Health to develop the vaccine with British-based medical charity Wellcome Trust helping to fund the vaccine trials.

GlaxoSmithKline says the vaccine would guard against the Zaire strain of Ebola, which is circulating in West Africa.

The company said it plans to begin making up to 10,000 doses of the vaccine at the same time as the clinical trials, to make the vaccine immediately available if successful.

 

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (1)
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
August 28, 2014 11:39 AM
And they (WHO) said;.. there was no chance it could become a worldwide (EBOLA) epidemic, didn't they?..... The apocalyptic END?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid