Players from ”FC Gberedou Abobo’ football team from Guinea pose with a sign reading ”Stop ebola in Africa”
The number of deaths from the ebola virus in west Africa has surpassed 1,900, more than all previous outbreaks combined according the World Health Organisation.
Statistics from the Geneva-based UN health agency show that in 24 earlier outbreaks, including the first in 1976, 1,590 people died.
The WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan said “there were 3,500 confirmed or probable cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and the outbreak is rising,”
The latest toll represents a significant increase from the 1,552 deaths and 3,069 cases reported by the WHO just days ago.
Speaking at a news conference, Dr Chan said she hoped that, thanks to the global response to the crisis, transmission of the often fatal virus could be stopped in six to nine months.
Citing the WHO’s roadmap to fight the worst Ebola outbreak in history, she said that in countries with “very intense transmission, we would like to reverse the trend in three months.”
She said for countries with “localised transmission” such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal, the WHO “would like to stop all transmission within eight weeks.”
In response to the current crisis, the WHO is holding a meeting today to discuss how to fast-track the testing and production of the most promising treatments to tackle the outbreak in west Africa.