The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned the US that unless urgent steps are taken to prevent the Ebola virus from spreading further afield, it could get out of control. The Director of the agency, Dr. Tom Frieden stated this recently when he was called before the House sub-committee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations which was hearing on “Combating the Ebola Threat”.
Dr. Frieden had visited the worst Ebola hit West African countries – Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to see things for himself and to assess the situation on ground. He had even worn the protective gears used by healthcare workers in isolation centers, and visited wards where Ebola patients were undergoing treatment. His visit opened his eyes to the grave health situations that could soon hit the US and other European or Asian countries, and he made this fact known while testifying before the House subcommittees.
According to the CDC director, “it’s not just in the interest of these countries to get it under control. For every day that this continues to spread in West Africa, the likelihood of someone getting infected and becoming sick elsewhere increases”. Dr. Frieden further stated that “the bottom-line is that despite tremendous efforts from the US government, CDC, from within countries, the number of cases continues to increase and is now increasing rapidly. There is a window of opportunity to tamp this down…but that window is closing…we need action now to scale up the response.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 3,069 patients are down with the deadly Ebola disease and 1,552 are dead already as a result of the virus. According to WHO, the fatality rate of the Ebola infection is greater than 50%, and the “magnitude of the Ebola outbreak has been vastly underestimated.” There have been reported cases in Nigeria, Senegal, and recently in the Congo.