Liberia is expected to see thousands of new Ebola cases within the next three weeks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday.
The current outbreak of the virus in West Africa is believed to have killed around 2,300 people, including 79 health workers. Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone are at the centre of the outbreak, with Nigeria, and Senegal also effected.
Liberia is proving particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus. Before the outbreak, the country had only one doctor for every 100,000 inhabitants, and a severe shortage of beds. The WHO stated that “as soon as a new Ebola treatment facility is opened, it immediately fills to overflowing with patients”. [Tweet “”As soon as a new Ebola treatment facility is opened, it immediately fills””]
The UK military have said they will build a 50 bed center near Sierra Leone’s capital, with the US saying it would send a 25 bed field hospital. This falls short of the 1,000 beds an investigative team from WHO says is needed in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, alone.
WHO says a three- to four-fold increase in the efforts of those combating the outbreak is needed.
The African Union also warned of the economic impact of the outbreak, urging a lifting of travel bans and border closures. WHO have previously warned that such travel restrictions increased the chance of food shortages. An agreement made yesterday is expected to lead to those restrictions imposed in the last few months being lifted.