Remember last month when Guinea’s President Alpha Conde announced that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was under control? Well he may have spoken too soon. More recent reports paint a much different picture of the situation in Africa, explaining that not only is it one of the “the most challenging Ebola outbreaks ever” but also “totally out of control.”
Bart Janssens, the senior official for Doctors Without Borders in Brussels is hoping to give the rest of the world an accurate idea of what himself and other medical volunteers are currently experiencing. “The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave, and for me, it is totally out of control," Janssens told the Associated Press on Friday. Janssens also made an appeal for more international aid. "I'm absolutely convinced that this epidemic is far from over and will continue to kill a considerable amount of people, so this will definitely end up the biggest ever," Janssens added.
Experts are not sure when exactly the outbreak began, but believe it was around late last year or early this year. Since then, it has been both confirmed and suspected to be responsible for more than 400 deaths in various countries on the African west coast, according to the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) update. The spread-out nature of Ebola victims has made it one of “the most challenging Ebola outbreaks ever,” according to Fadela Chaib, a WHO spokeswomen, AP reported. Medical volunteers are having trouble tackling the situation due to its constant movement across country borders.
The Ebola outbreak has hit one of the poorest regions in the world, significantly affecting governments' abilities to deal with the problem. In many of these countries the public health systems were already quite fragile, and were simply unable to deal with an outbreak of such scale. “The affected countries are at the bottom of the human development index. Ebola is seriously crippling their capacities to respond effectively in containing the spread," Unni Krishnan, head of disaster preparedness and response for Plan International, told the AP. As for international aid, Janssens informed the news agency that Doctors Without Borders “cannot cover all the needs,” and has reached their limit to respond. It’s not just volunteers that are running low, necessary protective supplies are dwindling as well. “We have to ration them,” Robert Garry, a virologist and specialist in viral hemorrhagic fevers who is currently stationed in Sierra Leone, told NBC News.
Ebola is a highly communicable disease and is most commonly transferred through contaminated blood or other bodily secretions from contaminated hosts. Symptoms include fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat. The virus has a 90 percent mortality rate, and there are currently no vaccines or cures available.