CDC chief's dire ebola warning: "We have to work now so that it is not the world's next AIDS"

World leaders urged action on the virus which continues to spread rapidly

Published October 9, 2014 4:40PM (EDT)


"We have to work now so that it is not the world's next AIDS," said CDC director Thomas Frieden to heads of the United Nations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund in a meeting in Washington, D.C. "I would say that in the 30 years I've been working in public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS."

AIDS and Ebola are very different diseases: the incubation period for Ebola is only 21 days, while the period of contagion via bodily fluids is even shorter, while HIV can be transmissible any time bodily fluids are exchanged with a carrier.

Still, Frieden likely used the comparison to speak to the scope of the disease--approximately 35.3 million people are currently living with AIDS, while 36 million have died since the first cases were reported in 1981. The CDC predicts that the number of cases of Ebola could reach 1.4 million by January 2015.

Agence France-Presse reports:

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma assailed the global response to the epidemic thus far, saying it was moving more slowly than the spread of the disease.

"This slower-than-the-virus response needs to change," he told the UN, World Bank and IMF chiefs in Washington.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said resources to support the fight need to be increased 20-fold, and urged nations to act without delay.

"Cases are growing exponentially," Ban said. "Do not wait for consultation. Just take action."

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim admitted that the world was "behind the curve" in the fight against Ebola.

According to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization, 3,865 people had died of Ebola as of Oct. 5, while nearly double have been infected.

By Joanna Rothkopf

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Aids Cdc Ebola Epidemic Thomas Frieden