Margaret Chan, General-Director of World Health Organization, speaks during a press conference in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Sept. 3, 2014. The outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa is "racing ahead" of efforts to control it and at least 600 million U.S. dollars is needed to get the unprecedented epidemic under control, UN health officials said Wednesday. (Xinhua/Guo Mantong)
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- The outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa is "racing ahead" of efforts to control it and at least 600 million U.S. dollars is needed to get the unprecedented epidemic under control, UN health officials said Wednesday.
"This Ebola epidemic is the largest, most severe, and most complex we have ever seen in the nearly 40-year history of this disease," Margaret Chan, General-Director of World Health Organization, told a press conference in Washington.
The outbreaks are racing ahead of the control efforts in West African countries, Chan said, adding that as of this week there have been about 3,500 confirmed or probable Ebola cases and more than 1,900 deaths from the deadly disease.
David Nabarro, Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, estimated that at least 600 million U.S. dollars is needed to get the necessary support to the countries to get the outbreak under control.
Nabarro warned of "a serious economic downturn" in the affected West African nations as a result of Ebola outbreak, which would complicate international efforts to contain the disease.
At the press conference, WHO officials said they are working with commercial airlines to bring their services back to Ebola- stricken countries as cancellation of flights are hurting international efforts to contain the outbreak.
Chan also emphasized that it is uncalled-for to refer to Ebola epidemic as an "African disease," warning that this stigmatization makes the coordinated global response much more difficult.
"It has become a global threat and we require urgent action," said Chan, adding that countries including the U.S., Britain, China, Canada, South Africa, Switzerland, France, and Kuwait have provided support to combat the outbreak.
Chan told Xinhua that she would like to thank Chinese government for deploying medical teams and provide necessary supplies to the Ebola-affected countries.
"I am happy to hear that the government is not retreating ...( and Chinese health workers) stay and continue to provide service," Chan said.