Ebola Outbreak in West Africa Worsens

Ebola virus disease causing more illnesses and spreading in Guinea and Sierra Leone as well as Liberia

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is being closely monitored by health experts and organizations, some of whom are now saying the situation is escalating in a dangerous way.

An announcement this week from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international medical humanitarian group also known as Doctors Without Borders, claimed that the outbreak is now out of control.

Over 500 cases have now been reported, but no travel or trade restrictions have been imposed on the areas involved.

Doctors Without Borders is working to treat Ebola patients involved in this outbreak.

"Limit close contact with others when you are sick to avoid spreading illness."

On June 23, MSF released an announcement stressing the serious nature of the current situation in West Africa.

According to MSF, Ebola patients have now been found in over 60 individual locations in the three nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. As the virus spreads, it becomes harder to contain.

In the MSF announcement, Dr. Bart Janssens, Director of Operations of MSF, stressed the nature of outbreak, saying "The epidemic is out of control."

“With the appearance of new sites in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, there is a real risk of it spreading to other areas,” said Dr. Janssens.

According to the latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO) on June 22, over 550 cases and 350 deaths have occurred in the three countries.

WHO reported a total of 390 cases and 267 deaths in Guinea, 136 cases and 58 deaths in Sierra Leone and 41 cases and 25 deaths in Liberia.

These increasing case numbers have been making it difficult for medical aid workers to keep up with both the treatment of new patients and the spread of the virus, said MSF.

"The scale of the current Ebola epidemic is unprecedented in terms of geographical distribution, people infected and deaths," reported MSF, who noted that increased resources are needed to combat the situation.

“In particular, qualified medical staff need to be made available, training in how to treat Ebola needs to be organized and, contact tracing and awareness-raising activities among the population need to be stepped up," said Dr. Janssens. "Ebola is no longer a public health issue limited to Guinea: it is affecting the whole of West Africa.”

Ebola virus disease is a very serious infection that is spread through direct contact with infected blood or bodily fluids, explained WHO. In previous outbreaks, the fatality rate of Ebola patients has been as high as 90 percent.

At the latest update, WHO had not recommended any travel or trade restrictions to the countries affected by the outbreak.

Review Date: 
June 24, 2014
Last Updated:
October 8, 2014