West Africa Ebola outbreak among `most challenging` ever: WHO
Zee Media Bureau
Geneva: Ebola virus is becoming the next menace in West Africa and has claimed about 111 lives. Examining the death toll and the dangers that this virus possesses, WHO has declared Ebola outbreak among the "most challenging" ever.
The assistant director-general of the World Health Organisation, Keiji Fukuda, said the agency was concerned about the spread of the outbreak from its hub in the forests of southern Guinea.
"We have not had an Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa before," said Fukuda, whose agency has rushed scores of aid workers to the region to contain the epidemic.
The most severe strains of Ebola have had a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent and there is no vaccine, cure or specific treatment.
The outbreak has sparked fear in Guinea, where a mob in the south of the country last week attacked international aid workers, who they blame for bringing the haemorrhagic fever.
"These kind of outbreaks are often surrounded by a great deal of fear and anxiety," Fukuda said.
According to fresh figures released by the WHO today, there have been 157 suspected cases in Guinea -- the ground zero of the disease -- 101 of them fatal. Of those, 67 have been confirmed as Ebola victims by laboratory tests.
Twenty of the cases have been in the capital Conakry, a sprawling port city on Guinea's Atlantic coast that is home to between 1.5 million and two million people.
Other countries across west Africa have been bracing against the epidemic, with Senegal closing its border with Guinea to stop it spreading.
"Ebola is clearly a severe disease. It's an infection with a high fatality rate. But it's also an infection that can be controlled," Fukuda said.
"Our main purpose is really to support the affected countries, in terms of trying to prevent infections, stop infections, stop the outbreak, and then make sure that those who are sick get the best possible care."
With Agency Inputs