Liberia should expect thousands of new cases of Ebola in the coming weeks, the World Health Organization says. It said aid partners urgently need to step up efforts to combat the deadly epidemic.
Liberia should prepare for thousands of new cases of Ebola over the next few weeks, as the number of people infected with the disease increases exponentially, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
"Transmission of the Ebola virus in Liberia is already intense and the number of new cases is increasing exponentially," WHO said in a statement.
WHO noted that motorbike-taxis and regular taxis were a frequent cause of transmission as they are not disinfected in Liberia, the country hardest-hit by the Ebola epidemic currently raging in west Africa. A WHO update last Friday put the number killed by the disease in Liberia at 1,089 among 1,871 cases of infection.
It said conventional Ebola control measures in the country were "not having an adequate impact," and called on aid partners to increase efforts to bring the disease under control three to fourfold in Liberia and other West African countries that are afflicted.
More beds needed
In Liberia's Montserrado County, which includes the capital, Monrovia, a WHO investigative team estimated that 1,000 beds were urgently needed for Ebola patients, according to the statement.
The statement said that newly opened treatment centers were immediately swamped by patients, indicating that there were many cases as yet unregistered. People returning from the centers infected others, fueling the exponential increase in cases, it said.
Many health workers in Liberia had also died of the disease, the statement said, resulting in an increasing lack of medical capacity to cope with the epidemic.
So far, more than 3,500 people across West Africa have been infected and more than 2,000 killed in what is the largest Ebola outbreak on record. The other countries so far affected are Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal.
The disease, whose symptoms include high fever and external and internal hemorrhaging, is transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids.
tj/shs (AP, Reuters, AFP)