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3,900 KILLED IN WEST AFRICA

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim,
Guinea President Alpha Conde and Ban at the IMF meeting

‘Ebola challenge is biggest since Aids’

WASHINGTON, October 10, 2014

The deadly spread of Ebola in West Africa is something unseen since the outbreak of Aids, said Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I would say that in the 30 years I've been working in public health, the only thing like this has been Aids,” he told a top-level Ebola forum in Washington, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

“It's going to be a long fight,” he told the heads of the UN, World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“We have to work now so that it is not the world's next Aids.”

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for a 20-fold increase in the world's response to the spread of Ebola, which has killed nearly 3,900 people in West Africa since the beginning of the year.

“Cases are growing exponentially. Do not wait for consultation. Just take action,” he said.

The continuing outbreak in West Africa forced officials in Liberia - the nation worst hit by the Ebola outbreak - to postpone nationwide elections.

Almost three million voters had been due to go to polling stations on Tuesday, but authorities said there was no way a 'mass movement, deployment and gathering of people' could go ahead without endangering lives.

Leaders of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone pressed the global community for more help on the frontline of the virus battlefield.

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma assailed the global response to the epidemic, saying it was moving more slowly than the spread of the disease.

“This slower-than-the-virus response needs to change,” he told the UN, World Bank and IMF chiefs.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim admitted that the world was 'behind the curve' in the fight against Ebola.

Among Ebola's latest victims is Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient cared for in the US to die of the disease.

Just as his death was announced, US officials also ordered increased screening at five major airports in New York, Washington, Chicago, Atlanta and New Jersey.

In Texas, a county sheriff deputy was quarantined after visiting the home of Duncan. However reports later said he had tested negative for the virus.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted the number of cases could mount to 1.4 million by January unless strong measures are taken to contain the disease, which is spread through close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

French Health Minister Marisol Touraine said she was working with the authorities in countries badly affected by Ebola 'to see in which conditions we can reinforce departure controls.'

The European Commission is expected to meet on October 17 to discuss possible new ways to monitor passengers arriving from affected countries.

In Madrid, the condition of a nurse, who treated two elderly missionaries with Ebola has worsened, the hospital, where she is being treated, said.

Teresa Romero, who is the first person infected with Ebola outside Africa, had gone on leave after the second of her Ebola patients died on September 25.

She started to feel ill on September 29 but was not admitted to hospital until seven days later, creating a large window of time in which other people may have been exposed.

Health officials said they would monitor about 50 other people - mostly health staff - who had been in contact with Romero for the duration of the 21-day Ebola incubation period.

Six other people are in quarantine at the hospital as a precaution, including Romero's husband and several health workers, according to the latest tally from the hospital.

Meanwhile, a Liberian doctor died of the disease at a treatment centre in Monrovia yesterday.

Ugandan-born John Taban Dada had been working at John F Kennedy Memorial Centre. His death brings to four the number of doctors who have died in Liberia.

The UK is probing reports that a Briton suspected of having Ebola has died in Macedonia. - TradeArabia News Service

 

 




Tags: Aids | Health | Public | challenge | West Africa | ebola |

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