UN warns Ebola epidemic 'not yet contained'
Iran Press TV
Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:51PM
The United Nations has warned that the spread of the deadly Ebola virus is not fully controlled yet despite a significant fall in the number of new cases across West Africa.
David Nabarro, the senior UN coordinator for Ebola, told reporters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday that "the epidemic is not contained yet" across the three worst-affected West African nations, including Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
"The number of cases is decreasing week by week and getting to zero in many places...but we still see occasional flare-ups and we still see some surprises with new cases out of our contact lists," Nabarro added.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement on Thursday and emphasized the need to create proper "infrastructure" in an effort to tackle the deadly disease.
"The response...has now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing transmission to ending the epidemic," read the statement, adding, "To achieve this goal as quickly as possible, efforts have moved from rapidly building infrastructure to ensuring that capacity for case finding, case management, safe burials, and community engagement is used as effectively as possible."
The developments come as the African Union (AU) leaders have gathered in Addis Ababa for a summit, where Ebola is a key issue for discussion.
The AU also plans to launch an Ebola fund and disease control center to help stop the spread of the epidemic across the continent.
The African Union has already sent hundreds of health workers as part of its mission to control the outbreak in West Africa.
According to the World Health Organization, the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in the three hardest-hit West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia has risen to nearly 9,000.
Ebola is a form of hemorrhagic fever, whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces, or sweat. It can be also spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.
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