U.S. troops dispatched to fight Ebola will find an epidemic out of control, UN says

Thursday, September 18, 2014
By Paul Martin

By John Zarocostas
September 17, 2014

GENEVA — The World Health Organization warned Tuesday that the agency now expects tens of thousands of people will be infected with the Ebola virus before the current epidemic is contained, and it called for nations to commit far more resources to combating the outbreak, which is ravaging the poor African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The dire new prediction came as the United States pledged to send 3,000 American service members to West Africa to lead the response to the crisis. The U.S. troops will help build new treatment centers in Liberia, where sick patients have been turned away from crowded facilities, and train as many as 500 new health care workers a week to help meet a shortage of volunteers.

Still, U.N. officials said they see no end to the crisis, which is growing at a rate they hadn’t foreseen just two weeks ago.

Bruce Aylward, WHO’s assistant director, said the U.N. agency’s prediction then that 20,000 people would be sickened now appears woefully optimistic. That’s a frightening prospect for a disease that currently is claiming the lives of nearly 50 percent of those who fall ill.

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