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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.