After sending a team of experts to the sites of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the World Health Organization has declared Thursday that “drastic action is needed” to curb the deadly spread of the virus that has so far ravaged three countries — Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
Doctors Without Borders stated Sunday that the Ebola situation in Africa is getting “out of control,” admitting that the organization could not fully cover the three countries without experiencing a shortage of medical manpower. According to CNN, the lack of medical infrastructures in the impoverished nations is complicating the fight against the Ebola outbreak. Furthermore, the mistrust the local population has developed for the responding medical volunteers has made it more difficult for doctors to subdue the deadly virus.
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta was in Guinea to give a firsthand report on the dire situation in West Africa. Describing the impact of Ebola on Guinea, Gupta wrote:
“It took only moments to feel the impact of what was happening here. There is a lot we know about Ebola, and it scares us almost as much as what we don’t know.”
Usually, the Ebola virus spreads through closed areas, making it easier to contain. However, the latest outbreak has been observed to spread in 60 different locations in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, making it more difficult to respond to the afflicted.
In Liberia, people are looking up to their president, Nobel peace prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for immediate guidance and solutions. According to Philly.com, the president was greeted after a hospital visit by a crowd of people, holding placards where statements like “With your visit mama Ellen, Ebola will go away” are plastered.
Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 and was named after the Ebola River in Zaire (present day Democratic Republic of Congo), where the first outbreak in history was observed. The virus manifests itself with a sudden onset of influenza-like symptoms characterized by malaise, fever, chills, severe headache, sore throat, and body pain. Hemorrhage, or heavy bleeding, is experienced in 40 to 50 percent of the cases.
Doctors Without Borders is doing their best efforts to subdue the virus but admits that they are challenging one of the worst cases of Ebola outbreak in history. Despite having more than 300 medical professionals in the field and 40 tons of hospital equipment, Doctors Without Borders stated that the Ebola situation in West Africa is nearly uncontrollable. In a statement, one representative of the organization said:
“Despite the human resources and equipment deployed by MSF in the three affected countries, we are no longer able to send teams to the new outbreak sites.”