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Ebola outbreak in West Africa "underestimated": WHO

English.news.cn   2014-08-22 22:55:48            

GENEVA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said the magnitude of the Ebola outbreak, especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone, has been underestimated.

According to WHO, many families in the affected countries hided infected family members in their homes.

The fast-moving outbreak created challenges for international partners providing supports, WHO said. Quantities of staff, supplies, and equipment, including personal protective equipment, cannot meet the need.

In rural villages, corpses are buried without notifying health officials and with no investigation of the cause of death, according to WHO.

In parts of Liberia, most notably in capital city of Monrovia, virtually all health services have shut down. Lack of access to any form of health care contributed to the mobbing incident on Saturday at an Ebola holding facility in the West Point township, Liberia's most disease-prone slum.

Rumors spread that the holding facility, hastily set up by local authorities in an abandoned schoolhouse, was actually a clinic for general health care. People from other communities brought their ailing family members there, where they were housed together with suspected Ebola patients, according to WHO.

"No one knows when this Ebola outbreak will end," WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told a press conference, adding that the Ebola virus and outbreak will be with us for months to come.

She said that with more cases reported, including in the three hot places, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the situation is not yet over.

"Ebola will not be over until two incubation periods, which means 42 days, without any confirmed case appeared in a country," she said.

Ebola spreads through body fluids and has killed over 1,300 people in West African countries this year.

Editor: Lu Hui
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