WHO: Ebola Outbreak ‘Continues To Accelerate’

According to the WHO, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to escalate. In their latest report, the World Health Organization revealed more than 3,000 people were diagnosed with the deadly virus. Officials estimate more than 1,500 people have died.

Although the outbreak is the deadliest in history, a majority of the cases are concentrated in a specific region. As stated in the report, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were identified as “hotspots” or “hot zones.”

In an effort to curb the outbreak and better serve the community, the WHO created a “road map” of confirmed cases. The map will ensure supplies, including protective gear and disinfectants will reach those in need.

As reported by CNN, the map also outlines how the Ebola outbreak has evolved. According to the latest data, 40 percent of new cases were reported within the last three weeks. Unfortunately, the latest numbers suggest the outbreak “continues to accelerate.”

If the virus continues to spread at current rates, the numbers “could exceed 20,000 over the course of this emergency.” Although the numbers are expected rise, the WHO hopes “to stop ongoing Ebola transmission worldwide within six-to-nine months.”

As explained by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ebola is a type of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever. As the infection is severe, and often accelerates quickly, the virus is often fatal. In the latest outbreak, more than 50 percent of those diagnosed have died.

Following its discovery in 1976, health officials have identified five subspecies of the deadly virus. Although four of the subspecies are a concern for humans, the fifth is only found in primates.

Symptoms of an Ebola infection include unexplained bleeding and bruising, diarrhea, headache, high fever, muscle pain and vomiting. In a majority of patients, symptoms begin to appear within two weeks of exposure.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with body fluids. However, objects and food contaminated with bodily fluids are also a serious concern.

According the WHO, the Ebola outbreak is confined to West Africa. However, some officials are concerned that the virus could spread to other countries. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden explains:

“It’s even worse than I’d feared… Everyday this outbreak goes on, it increases the risk for another export to another country.”

The WHO Ebola outbreak road map could help curb further spread. Although the future of the outbreak is difficult to predict, the map will certainly help organizations better serve those in need.

[Image via Macleans]