Doctors: West Africa Ebola Outbreak Like 'Wartime'

Image: Doctors: West Africa Ebola Outbreak Like 'Wartime' A man stands next to the coffin of Dr Modupeh Cole, Sierra Leone's second senior physician to die of Ebola, at the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) facility in Kailahun. (Carol De Souza/Getty Images)

Friday, 15 Aug 2014 01:07 PM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

The Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people in West Africa could last another six months, Doctors Without Borders said Friday, and an aid worker acknowledged that the true death toll is unknown.

Meanwhile, new figures released by the World Health Organization showed that Liberia has recorded more deaths — 413 — than any of the other affected countries.

Tarnue Karbbar, who works for the aid group Plan International in northern Liberia, said response teams simply aren't able to document all the cases erupting. Many of the sick are still being hidden at home by their relatives, too fearful of going to an Ebola treatment center.

ALERT: Never Catch the Flu or Common Cold Again

Others are buried before the teams can get to the area, he said. In the last several days, some 75 cases have emerged in a single district.

"Our challenge now is to quarantine the area to successfully break the transmission," he said, referring to the Voinjama area.

Part of the fear stems from the fact that there is no cure or licensed treatment for Ebola, and patients often die gruesome deaths with external bleeding from their mouths, eyes or ears. A handful of people, however, have received an experimental drug, whose effectiveness is unknown.

Liberia's assistant health minister, Tolbert Nyenswah, said that three people in Liberia were receiving the ZMapp on Friday. Previously, only two Americans and a Spaniard had received it. The Americans are improving, but it is not known what role ZMapp played. The Spaniard died.

The World Health Organization has approved the use of such untested drugs but their supply is extremely limited. The doses of ZMapp currently being used in Liberia are reportedly the last in the world.

The U.N. health agency has said the focus should be on practicing good hygiene, and quickly identifying the sick and isolating them. That task is made harder, however, by the shortage of space in treatment facilities.

Beds in such centers are filling up faster than they can be provided, evidence that the outbreak in West Africa is far more severe than the numbers show, said Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for World Health Organization in Geneva.

There are 40 beds at a treatment center that Doctors Without Borders — also known by its French acronym MSF — recently took over in one quarantined county in Liberia. But 137 people have flocked there, packing the hallways until they can be sorted into those who are infected and those are not, said Joanne Liu, MSF's international president.

Nyenswah described a similar situation in a treatment center in Liberia's capital of Monrovia: In one ward meant to accommodate between 20 and 25 people, 80 are now crowded in. Another treatment center with 120 beds is expected to open Saturday just outside Monrovia.

"It's absolutely dangerous," said Liu, who recently returned from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. "With the massive influx of patients that we had over the last few days, we're not able to keep zones of patients anymore. Everybody is mixed."

The charity will have a total of 300 beds available in all three countries by this weekend, and Liu said it cannot possibly provide any more.

Liu likened the situation to a state of war because the "frontline" was always moving and unpredictable. She said the outbreak could last six more months.

The fear and inconvenience are also disrupting food supplies and transportation. Some 1 million people in isolated areas might need food assistance in the coming months, according to the U.N. World Food Program, which is preparing a regional emergency operation to bring food by convoy to the needy.

Amid a growing number of airline cancellations, the U.N. will start flights for humanitarian workers on Saturday to ensure aid operations aren't interrupted. In the coming weeks, they will also ferry staff to remote areas by helicopter.

The death toll is now 1,145 people in four countries across West Africa, according to figures released Friday by the World Health Organization. At least 2,127 cases have been reported in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria, WHO said.

ALERT: Never Catch the Flu or Common Cold Again

Ebola causes a high fever, bleeding and vomiting. It has no cure and no licensed treatment and has been fatal in at least 50 percent of the cases, health experts say.


© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Bernard Kerik: De Blasio, Sharpton 'Have Blood on Their Hands'

Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 18:49 PM

Bernard Kerik: De Blasio, Sharpton 'Have Blood on Their Hands'
By Todd Beamon
Former New York City Police Comm . . .

Instagram Posting May Be Linked to Police Killings

Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 18:09 PM

A posting to the social media site Instagram may be linked to the
tragic killings of two New York City police offic . . .

Police: 2 NYC Cops Shot Dead, Execution Style

Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 17:03 PM

An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday a . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved