WHO says Ebola spread at critical stage

WHO says Ebola spread at critical stage
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The WHO says the Ebola outbreak in West Africa may now have plateaued off, and will now either decline or jump to a new level. It says it wants to be ready for a second phase that could be much bigger than the first, which has already killed at least 1,350 people.

Senegal is the latest country to close its borders with neighbours for fear of the virus breaking out further, and alarm bells are sounding in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where 13 people have died from a haemorrhagic fever that may or may not be Ebola, which was discovered in the north-west of the country for the first time in 1976.

However the west African strain of the virus is different to the original, and its adaptation is worrying scientists.

Ivory Coast is the latest country to impose even stricter border controls as the WHO’s strategy to prevent Ebola’s spread is applied, but around half of those infected are able to recover on their own. Countries with already saturated heath services are unwilling to commit too early to more costly emergency procedures.

And we may have a cure. A second US doctor has been allowed home after getting the experimental ZMapp treatment, but there is none of it left, and the tiny Californian biotech lab that produces it cannot easily scale up production. The drug also has yet to obtain regulatory approval.

Also read:

Everything you need to know about the Ebola virus

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