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Ebola virus in West Africa claiming hundreds of lives: Many fear it is now out of control

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/22/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

More than 300 deaths in West African nations have been blamed on the frequently fatal virus

Ebola, the horrific disease that causes the body's internal organ to bleed and almost melt away has been described as "out of control" in West Africa. Doctors there are stretched past capacity. The latest outbreak has broken all previous records, with more than 300 people in three separate nations dying from the disease.

The current outbreak began in Guinea either late last year or early this year. The spread of the virus appeared to slow before picking up pace again in recent weeks, including spreading to the Liberian capital for the first time.

The current outbreak began in Guinea either late last year or early this year. The spread of the virus appeared to slow before picking up pace again in recent weeks, including spreading to the Liberian capital for the first time.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
6/22/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Ebola, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, outbreak


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the non-governmental organization, Doctors without Borders, more than 330 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have succumbed to the Ebola virus.

Bart Janssens, the director of operations for the group in Brussels, declared that international organizations along with the governments involved need to send in more health experts and increase public awareness about how to stop the spread of the disease.

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"The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave," Janssens said. "And, for me, it is totally out of control."

The current outbreak began in Guinea either late last year or early this year. The spread of the virus appeared to slow before picking up pace again in recent weeks, including spreading to the Liberian capital for the first time.

"This is the highest outbreak on record and has the highest number of deaths, so this is unprecedented so far," Armand Sprecher, a public health specialist with Doctors Without Borders said.

The previous highest Ebola death toll was in the first recorded Ebola outbreak in Congo in 1976, when 280 deaths were reported.

The Ebola virus usually strikes remote areas. The first cases sometimes go unrecognized, and it is likely that there are deaths that go uncounted, both in this outbreak and previous ones.

The multiple locations of the current outbreak and its movement across borders make it one of the "most challenging Ebola outbreaks ever," Fadela Chaib, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, said.

Even worse, the current outbreak shows no sign of abating and that governments and international organizations were "far from winning this battle," Unni Krishnan, head of disaster preparedness and response for Plan International, said.

Janssens warns that the governments affected had not recognized the gravity of the situation. He was openly critical of the World Health Organization for not doing enough to prod leaders and said that it needs to bring in more experts to do the vital work of tracing all of the people who have been in contact with the sick.

"There needs to be a real political commitment that this is a very big emergency," he said. "Otherwise, it will continue to spread, and for sure it will spread to more countries."

In response, Tolbert Nyenswah, Liberia's deputy minister of health, says that people in the highest levels of government are working to contain the outbreak.

But he noted that the disease is striking in one of the world's poorest regions, where public health systems are already fragile.

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