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Cultural traditions making deadly Ebola outbreak worse, experts say

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Cultural traditions making deadly Ebola outbreak worse, experts say

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West African states lack the resources to battle the world’s deadliest outbreak of Ebola, health ministers from the worst affected countries warned on Wednesday.

More than 450 people have died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since February.

Experts say deep cultural suspicions are also proving a big obstacle to halting the virus’ spread.

Peter Piot, Director and Professor of Global Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said: “Fear of the virus and distrust of authorities and of the health system probably is as bad and as dangerous as the virus itself. And what I think is needed now is a massive information campaign, but not just facts but involving community leaders, the media, the local media, more than disease experts.”

Authorities are trying to prevent relatives of Ebola victims from giving them traditional funerals, which often involve the manual washing of the body.

The latest warning of a lack of resources being dedicated to battle the disease, follows recent calls from NGOs for the international community to offer more aid to the worst affected countries to stem the virus.