Ebola virus disease could affect 20,000 people in West Africa

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A government health worker at the Kenema Ebola Treatment Centre in Sierra Leone attends to a victim. Photo: IRIN/Tommy Trenchard

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it will require nearly $500 million over the next nine months to bring the Ebola disease outbreak in West Africa under control.

WHO says the viral disease outbreak continues to spread at unprecedented levels, and estimates that up to 20,000 people could become infected before the transmission is contained.

The disease has already claimed over 1,500 lives in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

To help guide and coordinate the international response to the outbreak, WHO has today issued a road map document detailing action plans and financial needs, with the aim of stopping transmission of the disease within six to nine months.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for emergency operations says nearly 13,000 health workers are needed to help contain the disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which are the worst affected by the disease.

"So those three countries wide spread transmission, infection of the capitals, infection possibly some of the major ports, which makes it extremely difficult to mount the response effort to sustain it, to keep the airlines open and flying and to be able to land food and other essential services that are going to be critical to managing the broader impact of this outbreak. We are dealing with this disease in large urban environment and over large geographic areas and this is what has required us to put together a new road map that looks at how we scale up strategies , how do we adopt strategies to that environment and get the disease down to the kind of levels needed."

WHO says the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has had an unprecedented toll on health care workers, infecting more than 240 and killing more than 120.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1.50″

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December 2017
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