Aid group: West Africa Ebola outbreak like 'Wartime'

Aug 16 2014, 09:39 IST
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SummaryThe Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 1,100 people in West Africa could last another six months.

The Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 1,100 people in West Africa could last another six months, the Doctors Without Borders charity group said Friday. One aid worker acknowledged that the true death toll is still unknown.

New figures released by the World Health Organization showed that Liberia has recorded more Ebola 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 erupting Ebola cases. Many of the sick are still being hidden at home by their relatives, who are too fearful of going to an Ebola treatment center.

Others are being buried before the teams can get to remote areas, he said. In the last several days, about 75 cases have emerged in Voinjama, a single Liberian district.

''Our challenge now is to quarantine the area (in Voinjama) to successfully break the transmission,'' he said.

There is no cure or licensed treatment for Ebola and patients often die gruesome deaths with external bleeding from their mouths, eyes or ears. The killer virus is transmitted through bodily fluids like blood, sweat, urine and diarrhea. A handful of people have received an experimental drug whose effectiveness is unknown.

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

The American doctor infected with Ebola while working in Liberia said Friday he is ''recovering in every way'' and holding onto the hope of a reunion with his family.

Dr. Kent Brantly remained hospitalized Friday at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. His comments came in a statement issued through the Christian aid group Samaritan's Purse.

The World Health Organization has approved the use of such untested drugs but their supply is extremely limited.

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

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