No Quick End in Sight for Ebola Epidemic in West Africa

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schlein
July 15, 2014

The World Health Organization says the Ebola epidemic circulating in three West African countries shows no signs of diminishing and fears it is likely to continue for many months. Latest WHO figures put the number of cases of this deadly disease at 964, including 603 deaths.

The deadly Ebola virus is continuing to spread in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia nearly four months after it was first detected in remote forest communities of Guinea. There is no vaccine or cure for the virus, which is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person.

The World Health Organization reports Ebola victims in West Africa are dying at a rate of 60 percent. WHO spokesman Dan Epstein said it probably would be several months before governments and health agencies got a grip on this epidemic and cases of the disease started going down.

“It is pretty horrifying, I think, anytime you have an epidemic that has a case fatality rate of above 50 percent where more than half the people infected die, it is horrifying. So, of course, we are very worried and that is why we are increasing our efforts. In terms of how long it will take, it is very hard to predict. It depends on our success in the five important areas of epidemiology, contact tracing, education very importantly, community level participation, changing of habits of burial practices,” he said.

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