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  • The Ebola outbreak in west Africa is unprecedented. The disease has so far infected 9,000 people

  • and killed half of them, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. By December the

  • World Health Organisation fears there could be 10,000 new cases a week. How do we stop

  • it?

  • Ebola is only spread through bodily fluids when a person is symptomaticso it should

  • be possible to contain. Right now, each carrier infects about two others. If that figure can

  • be reduced to less than one, the epidemic will tail off. But NGOs and local governments

  • are struggling to cope; their resources fall far short of what is needed.

  • The rich world might think it can inoculate itself by screening at airports or quarantining

  • west Africa. But borders are permeable and only a few sick people need to slip through

  • the net for the disease to spread. The only way to stop Ebola is to drain the reservoir

  • of infection within the afflicted ridden countries.

  • Diagnostic kits would find patients early, ideally before they become symptomatic, and

  • a vaccine could keep medical staff safe, encouraging more to help. But developing these will take

  • monthsif they work at all. In the mean time limiting the spread is the priority.

  • The WHO has set an ambitious goal: within 60 days it want 70% of burials to be safe

  • and 70% of cases isolated at home or in clinics. Public-education is critical and has started

  • to work: more people are burying their dead in safe ways. To have any hope of reaching

  • the target, the afflicted countries need more money and manpower.

  • Between them America, Britain and the World Bank have already pledged almost $2bn. But

  • the UN says a 20-fold increase in the level of assistance is needed. America has promised

  • to build new clinics that will need 10,000 health workersbut it won’t be providing

  • the staff.

  • More healthcare workers are vital to contain Ebola, but not enough of them are available

  • on the ground. Building a 100-bed clinic does no good if there aren't enough people to run

  • it.

The Ebola outbreak in west Africa is unprecedented. The disease has so far infected 9,000 people

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B1 US ebola spread symptomatic west africa safe staff

How to stop the spread of Ebola

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    wu6u3 posted on 2014/10/22
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