With over 7,000 people infected, the Ebola death toll has climbed to over 3,400. The largest Ebola outbreak in known history is putting a strain on local health care systems and threatening the stability of the region.
Sierra Leone and nearby nations in West Africa have been ground zero for the growing Ebola death toll, with other parts of the region, including Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria, also being infected. While some areas have had better success in controlling the outbreaks, the Ebola death toll continues to rise in Sierra Leone and other nations. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has also been affected by the Ebola outbreak.
With the Ebola death toll rapidly approaching the 3,500 mark the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for swift global action to combat the deadly out break. The large number of Ebola outbreaks is not only causing the Ebola death toll to rise, but it is putting a strain on an already vulnerable health care system which many officials fear will not be able to handle the strain. As the Ebola death toll rises, the health care system in Western Africa could collapse.
President Obama also warned the global response to the rise in the Ebola death toll has been too slow, and that more international cooperation is needed to help control the Ebola outbreaks around the world and to keep the Ebola death toll from rising any higher.
The United States plans to have a military team lead by example in combating the Ebola outbreak. The team will train critically needed medical responders and will help to build a field hospital and possibly other clinics in the most hard hit areas of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, where the Ebola death toll has been the highest. If international cooperation does not respond swiftly, it is expected that the Ebola death toll could continue to rise with the number of infected possibly climbing to the tens of thousands.
While one confirmed case of Ebola has been reported in the United States, authorities say that the situation is under control. The patient has been isolated, and the apartment complex where he lived has been quarantined. Fortunately, residents show no signs of having contracting the virus. While there is a need for caution and swift action to combat the growing Ebola death toll, experts say that there is little chance of an outbreak in the U.S.
The WHO has released several statements on the Ebola death toll, and a fact sheet on the Ebola virus to educate the public and help to quell some fears. They have emphasized the fact that the Ebola virus can only be spread by direct contact with the bodily fluids of another person who has been infected and is symptomatic. Early treatment, quick reporting, and swift community response can help to keep the Ebola death toll from rising or spreading to other nations.
[Image source: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/distribution-map.html]