World Health Organization reported on Tuesday that the Ebola outbreak has 603 lives since February 2014. Almost 70 of the deaths have been reported from the three countries alone in the region.
The WHO reported that 85 cases surfaced between July 8 – 12, stressing the continued transmission of the virus. International and local medics are stuggling to fight the outbreak as medics see a high risk of failure to contain the virus from further spreading considering the geo-political security circumstances in the region.
“It’s very difficult for us to get into communities where there is hostility to outsiders,” WHO spokesman Dan Epstein told a news briefing in Geneva. “We still face rumors, and suspicion and hostility … People are isolated, they’re afraid, they’re scared.”
Sierra Leone recorded the highest number of deaths, which include confirmed, probable and suspect cases of Ebola, with 52. Liberia reported 13 and Guinea 3, according to the WHO figures.
The spoken man said that the main focus is tracing people who have been exposed to others with Ebola and monitoring them for the 21-day incubation period to see if they were infected.
Epstein feared that it may be up to several months till the the situation may get under control.
Speaking from Havana, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan called the outbreak the world’s worst ever by number of cases, saying, “The situation is serious but not out of control yet.”
The WHO was mobilizing political, religious and local leaders in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to create a better welcome for medical professionals attempting to treat victims, Chan said, while also coordinating responses from the three affected countries and eight neighbors that have experienced Ebola.
In Sierra Leone and Guinea, experts believe scores of patients are being hidden as relatives and friends believe hospitalization is a “death sentence”. In Liberia, health workers have been chased away by armed gangs.