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

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    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?

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora