“Drastic action” needed: Worst-ever Ebola outbreak continues to wreak havoc in West Africa

The "out of control" outbreak is the largest and most widespread on record

Topics: ebola, West Africa, public health, guinea, doctors without borders, , ,

"Drastic action" needed: Worst-ever Ebola outbreak continues to wreak havoc in West Africa (Credit: CDC)

The Ebola outbreak deemed “totally out of control” by a public health official last week continues to take a deadly toll across West Africa, the World Health Organization reports. A total of 399 people have died across Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the agency said in a statement, and at least 635 cases have been reported, making the outbreak “the largest in terms of the number of cases and deaths as well as geographical spread.”

“This is no longer a country-specific outbreak but a sub-regional crisis that requires firm action by governments and partners,” Luis Sambo, WHO’s regional director for Africa, said. “WHO is gravely concerned of the ongoing cross-border transmission into neighboring countries as well as the potential for further international spread.”



The numbers seem small, compared to other epidemics, but there are a number of reasons why the Ebola outbreak has public health officials particularly worried. There’s no vaccine for the Ebola virus, meaning that health workers need to prevent people from getting it in the first place. The outbreak, however, is widespread: crossing borders and popping up in crowded urban centers, complicating efforts to identify and contain potential cases. Misinformation and stigma abounds among potential victims, sometimes preventing them from receiving proper care. And the governments of the affected countries appeared unprepared to deal with the outbreak, lacking the proper health systems needed to effectively contain and control it.

Relief doesn’t appear immediately forthcoming, said Francis Kasolo, the WHO’s director of disease prevention and control for Africa: “We still think we have another three to four months to go with the epidemic, but the duration will be influenced by how national governments and affected communities respond.”

Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...