The World Health Organization has stated that the rapid spread of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa is running ahead of any attempts to prevent it. The word used was "catastrophic" in regard to the potential number of victims.
The Head of the WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, spoke to a summit of regional leaders today in Conakry, the capital of the Republic of Guinea, and stated that the potential number of victims of the current outbreak could be catastrophic, but added that the outbreak could be contained with the right measures.
So far 729 people have died since the outbreak started in February in the Republic of Guinea, spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone and now, Nigeria. An Ebola response plan of 100 million USD has been launched to halt the spread of the virus. The current outbreak is the deadliest since the disease was first discovered along the River Ebola in Zaire in 1976. Among the victims are 60 health care workers, doctors and nurses who became infected while working with the patients.
Dr. Chan stated: "This meeting must mark a turning point in the outbreak response. Cases are occurring in rural areas which are difficult to access, but also in densely populated capital cities," adding that "It is taking place in areas with fluid population movements over porous borders, and it has demonstrated its ability to spread via air travel, contrary to what has been seen in past outbreaks".
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