WHO warns Ebola cases could double every three weeks | News | DW | 16.09.2014
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WHO warns Ebola cases could double every three weeks

The World Health Organization has warned that the number of Ebola cases could double every three weeks, with medics stressing it could soon become too late to contain the disease.

The number of Ebola cases in West Africa could begin to double every three weeks, according the UN's official health agency, with doctors warning that the likelihood of limiting the spread of the outbreak is becoming progressively smaller.

In a report released on Tuesday, the WHO claimed $987.8 million (770 million euros) was needed to cover expenses already incurred, including the payment of health workers and the cost of supplies.

At a meeting of the UN in Geneva, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) urged governments to act to halt the spread of the disease.

"The response to Ebola continues to fall dangerously behind," said MSF President Joanne Liu. "The window of opportunity to contain this outbreak is closing. We need more countries to stand up, we need greater deployment, and we need it now."

US President Barack Obama was expected to announce on Tuesday that it would send 3,000 troops to help tackle the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

World relief efforts gather pace

The troop deployment will likely be coordinated from headquarters established in Monrovia, Liberia. The anonymous officials have also said the US will work with the United Nation's Children's Fund to send 400,000 Ebola prevention kits, which will include information and disinfectant.

It is expected that most of the US effort, which will draw primarily on the medical corps, will concentrate on the worst-hit nation, Liberia.

China has promised to send a mobile team to the region, including laboratory experts, epidemiologists, doctors and nurses. Britain is also set to build a clinic, while Cuba has said it will sent more than 160 health workers.

According to WHO figures, some 5,000 people have become ill since the latest outbreak of the virus was first recognized in March. The WHO says it anticipates that figure could rise to more than 20,000. At least 2,400 people have already died as a result of the outbreak.

rc/ng (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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