Ebola is ‘entrenched and accelerating’ in West Africa
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Ebola is now entrenched in the capital cities of all three worst-affected countries and is accelerating in almost all settings.
WHO deputy head Bruce Aylward warned that the world’s response was not keeping up with the disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The three countries have appealed for more aid to help fight the disease.
The outbreak has killed more than 3,860 people, mainly in West Africa.
More than 200 health workers are among the victims.
Speaking on Thursday, Mr Aylward said the situation was worse than it was 12 days ago.
“The disease is entrenched in the capitals, 70% of the people affected are definitely dying from this disease, and it is accelerating in almost all of the settings,” he said.
The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) reported a sharp increase of Ebola cases in the Guinean capital, Conakry, dashing hopes that that the disease was being stabilised there.
Sepaking to the BBC on Friday, MSF President Joanna Liu called for urgent international action.
“We’re not winning the battle,” she said.
“To get ahead of the game we’re going to need to deploy much more massively than what we have done so far.”
At least one in 20 of those killed in the latest outbreak were medical workers, she said.
Meanwhile in Spain, seven more people are being monitored in hospital for Ebola.
They include two hairdressers who came into contact with Teresa Romero, a Madrid nurse looked after an Ebola patient who had been repatriated from West Africa.
Ms Romero is now very and reported to be at serious risk of dying.
- The UK is investigating reports a Briton suspected of having the disease has died in Macedonia, though Macedonia says there are “high chances” it is not Ebola
- More details of how passengers at some British airports will be screened are expected to be announced later on Friday
- The US begins its programme of enhanced screening this weekend at five of its major airports, including JFK
- A Texas county sheriff deputy who was quarantined after visiting the home of the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the US has reportedly been given the all clear
- Avoid direct contact with sick patients
- Wear goggles to protect eyes
- Clothing and clinical waste should be incinerated and any medical equipment that needs to be kept should be decontaminated
- People who recover from Ebola should abstain from sex or use condoms for three months
‘Our people dying’
On Thursday top US medical official Thomas Frieden said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was unlike anything since the emergence of HIV/Aids.
He told a meeting in Washington: “In the 30 years I’ve been working in public health, the only thing like this has been Aids,” he said.
Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma told the meeting that “our people are dying”.
He said that the world was not responding fast enough as children were being orphaned.
A Liberian doctor died of the disease at a treatment centre in Monrovia on Thursday.
His death brings to four the number of doctors who have died in Liberia since the outbreak.
The EU has announced plans for a system to evacuate international staff from Ebola-infected countries if they show signs of the disease.
The move is expected to make it easier to deploy European medical workers to combat the crisis in West Africa.
Nigeria’s government says 200 healthcare workers have volunteered to be sent to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea as part of a global response team on Ebola.
Nigeria, which has had seven confirmed deaths from the virus, seems to have successfully contained the spread of the haemorrhagic fever, the BBC’s Chris Ewokor in Abuja says.
|Source: NHS and World Health Organization|
|People can catch Ebola if they are in direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or animal|
|Early symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding, sometimes from the eyes and mouth|
|The current outbreak started in March in west Africa, where the worst-affected countries include Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia|
|It is thought unlikely that the disease would spread if it did come to the UK because quarantine and communications are more developed than in parts of western Africa|
|There is no licensed Ebola vaccine but treatments are in development|