Ebola outbreak keeps getting worse: "I'm not confident we will be able to stop it"

The epidemic has now killed more people than all other outbreaks combined

By Joanna Rothkopf

Published September 4, 2014 2:58PM (EDT)

Scanning electron microscopic image of Ebola virions                                                         (Public Library of Science)
Scanning electron microscopic image of Ebola virions (Public Library of Science)

A number of factors are combining readily to make West Africa's Ebola outbreak a truly nightmarish situation. The United Nations recently said that $600 million in supplies are needed to adequately fight the epidemic. What's more is that the pace of infection has actually accelerated, with 400 deaths just last week. Thus far, the disease has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal and Guinea, with state officials having recently announced it had entered a new geographic portion of the country.

There have been over 1,900 deaths from the often lethal virus, so that the fatality count of this outbreak actually surpasses the death count from all other outbreaks combined. Over 3,500 people have been infected overall. According to statistics culled by Bloomberg, in the 24 preceding outbreaks only 1,590 people died. In a statement made last week, the WHO said that the number of cases could reach, and even exceed 20,000 before the epidemic is under control.

51-year-old Dr. Rick Sacra is the third American to be infected with the disease, in addition to the over 120 healthcare workers who become infected and died due to equipment shortages, and is currently being treated in the Ebola ward at Liberia's ELWA Hospital.


  • The WHO is concerned about another cluster of the disease in Nigeria
  • One doctor who recently returned from West Africa says: "I'm not confident we will be able to stop it" without drugs
  • Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the WHO, spoke with the New York Times about the organization's Ebola operations.
  • Children orphaned by Ebola have missed their parents last words, and many don't even know where they are buried
  • Cuts at WHO hurt response to the epidemic: "Hindsight is always better."

Joanna Rothkopf

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Ebola West Africa World Health Organization