“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.

You Might Also Like

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 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.


    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.


    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows


Loading Comments...