Sharp Rise in Ebola Cases; Worst Is Yet to Come


In Monrovia, the capital of the West African nation of Liberia, the country hit hardest by the current Ebola epidemic, hospitals aren’t admitting patients. The lack of rooms and medical staff leave people on the streets. In recent days, there has been a sharp rise in Ebola cases, and the World Health Organization says that worst is yet to come.

The Ebola outbreak, which is spreading across Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal, has infected more than 3,500 people, making it the worse Ebola outbreak on record. The deaths are more than 2,000, although no exact data is available. Experts say that the true scale of the epidemic is much bigger – many cases are not reported and the deaths are probably many more. However, the official data isn’t a casual statistic either – the infections are rising rapidly, especially in Liberia, where 152 health care workers were also found sick. 79 of them have already died, according to a news statement.

The difficulties with medical personnel in Liberia were present even in the beginning of the outbreak, when the country had only one doctor to treat 100,000 people, said WHO. So, the UN agency expects “many thousands” infections in the coming weeks. Out of 15 counties in Liberia, 14 have already reported confirmed cases. The transmission is extremely intense and the situation is beyond the government’ “capacity to respond”. So, the international community should try its best for supporting Liberia and providing humanitarian (and not only) aid.

The country has the highest cumulative number of reported cases and deaths – nearly 2,000 infections and over 1,000 deaths have been confirmed. The death rate in Liberia is also higher than the average for this outbreak – 58% against 53% on average. As part of the international support, the United States and Britain announced they will be sending military personnel to help contain the epidemic. They will help with isolation procedures and security provision for health care workers.

US President Barack Obama said that Ebola can become an international threat if the US doesn’t act quickly. According to WHO estimates, 20,000 people may be infected with the deadly virus in the next months. This can cost $600 million – an impossible sum for the poor African countries where Ebola has struck so hard.


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