Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ebola called 'out of control' in West Africa

Michael Winter in USA Today: The deadliest-ever outbreak of the Ebola virus has surged in West Africa after slowing briefly, and the pandemic is now "out of control," according to Doctors Without Borders.

Nearly 600 infections and 340 Ebola-related deaths have been recorded in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the most since the virus was discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan almost 40 years ago, the World Health Organization said this week. There's no cure or vaccine for the highly contagious disease, which has mortality rate of up to 90%.

"The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave," Bart Janssens, the medical charity's operations director, told the Associated Press on Friday. "And, for me, it is totally out of control."

He criticized the WHO and African governments for not doing more to contain the outbreak and to thoroughly trace everyone who has had contact with the sick or the dead. "There needs to be a real political commitment that this is a very big emergency," he said. "Otherwise, it will continue to spread, and for sure it will spread to more countries."

As of Friday, the WHO was not recommending any travel or trade restrictions to the three countries. "We think that the situation can be controlled with the measures that are being vigorously implemented," Francis Kasolo, the director for disease prevention and control at the WHO's regional office in Republic of Congo, told the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle....

Ebola virions, from Charting the Path of the Deadly Ebola Virus in Central Africa. PLoS Biol 3/11/2005: e403 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030403, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 2.5 license

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