Earlier this week Doctors Without Borders said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was “out of control.” Now the World Health Organization has weighed in, calling for “drastic action” to quell the epidemic. With more than 300 deaths, and over 600 infected, the outbreak is the deadliest ever recorded.The WHO is warning that neighboring countries should be on high alert. The Washington Post:
“We want other countries in West Africa to be ready – bordering countries, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Guinea Bissau – to prepare themselves in case people affected with the disease may be also travelling,” WHO medical officer Dr. Pierre Formenty told a briefing in Geneva. […]Misinformation, lack of education and an underestimation of the severity of the outbreak have all contributed to what is quickly becoming an international crisis. “At the end of April, we started to see a decrease in the number of cases and we maybe saw a relaxation by the teams in the three countries, and this relaxation allowed things to restart,” [Doctors Without Borders director of operations Bart] Janssens said.One of the major problems: funerals. People are continuing to attend funerals of the dead, despite warnings and regardless of safety measures. Then a few days or weeks later, the attendants themselves wake up feeling unwell, without an appetite and feverish.
The outbreak isn’t confined to rural areas; the capital cities of Guinea and Liberia have had cases of infection. And while the WHO is not yet “recommending travel or trade restrictions” on Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, according to the Chicago Tribune, it may only be a matter of time.