WHO says 'drastic action is needed' to stop Ebola outbreak

By Amanda Stewart,

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that “drastic action is needed” to stop the ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

The Ebola outbreak is the largest ever seen, according to the WHO press release.

In Guinea alone, there have been 600 cases with about 400 deaths since the epidemic began in March. Ebola outbreaks are generally confined to smaller areas, but this outbreak has been identified in 60 different locations.

"This is no longer a country specific outbreak but a sub-regional crisis that requires firm action by Governments and partners," Dr Luis Sambo, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said. "WHO is gravely concerned of the on-going cross-border transmission into neighbouring countries as well as the potential for further international spread. There is an urgent need to  intensify response efforts;  to promote cross-border collaboration and information sharing of suspected cases and contacts in line with WHO guidelines and to mobilise all sectors of the community  to ensure unhindered access to affected areas. This is the only way that the outbreak will be effectively addressed."

Officials believe that the widespread outbreak is due mostly to the close proximity of the jungle (where the outbreak started) and the cities. The capital of Guinea has a population of 2 million people and an international airport.

Travelers could be carrying the virus and not even known. The virus can take anywhere between two and 21 days after exposure to get sick.

Ebola kills violently. At first it simply seems like the flu, but it is followed by diarrhea, vomiting and then the virus shuts off your body’s ability to clot blood.

As a result of the body’s inability to clot, many patients experience internal and external hemorrhaging. Most patients die within 10 days. Doctors Without Borders has been working to fight the epidemic since March, but the group has found its efforts to be insufficient. Ebola is only spreadable once a patient is showing symptoms.

Once the locations have no new cases for 42 days, it will be considered "contained."

According to NPR, there is no known cure for Ebola. The virus has already killed 50 to 60 percent of those who have become infected.

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