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|Martin Barillas||August 28th 2014|
Cutting Edge Contributor
According to Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will get worse before it gets better, needing an "unprecedented" response to bring it under control.
Dr. Frieden met Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on August 27 to discuss ways to fight the disease. "The cases are increasing. I wish I did not have to say this, but it is going to get worse before it gets better," he admitted.
"The world has never seen an outbreak of Ebola like this. Consequently, not only are the numbers large, but we know there are many more cases than has been diagnosed and reported," he said.
Furthermore, Dr. Friedan called for "urgent action" and for Liberians "to come together" to banish rumors and misconceptions that have helped Ebola spread. The Ebola virus is not airborne, despite widespread rumors, but it instead spread by humans coming into contact with bodily fluids, such as sweat and blood, from the infected.
Health ministers from the Economic Community of West African States will meet in Ghana's capital Accra on August 28 to discuss the regional response to the crisis. The extraordinary meeting follows warnings from the African Development Bank that the Ebola outbreak is causing tremendous economic damage to West Africa. Foreign businesses, for example, are fleeing the region.
The medical charity known as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has denounced the international response so far as "entirely inadequate." MSF operations director Brice de la Vigne said efforts to bring the outbreak under control have been chaotic. “It is simply unacceptable that serious discussions are only starting now about international leadership and coordination," he said. "Self-protection is occupying the entire focus of states that have the expertise and resources to make a dramatic difference."
Facts about Ebola
The World Health Organization says the outbreak has killed 1,427 people and infected 2,615.
Liberia has been hardest-hit of the affected countries, with 624 deaths and 1,082 cases since the start of the year.
Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage,
Fatality rate can reach 90% - but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 55%.
Incubation period is two to 21 days.
There is no vaccine or cure.
Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhea and vomiting can help recovery.
Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus's natural host.