UN: Ebola Crisis 'Vastly Underestimated'

Outbreak calls for 'extraordinary measures,' it warns
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2014 3:24 AM CDT
Updated Aug 15, 2014 7:00 AM CDT
UN: Ebola Crisis 'Vastly Underestimated'
People wash their hands with disinfectant as a preventative measure against the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia yesterday.   (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

The worst-ever Ebola outbreak has now killed more than 1,000 people, according to the World Health Organization—but the United Nations agency warns that its own numbers may "vastly underestimate" the scale of the crisis in West Africa. In a press release, the WHO says its workers at outbreak sites have seen evidence that the outbreak is greater than the 1,975 infections and 1,069 deaths recorded, and warns that "extraordinary measures" will be needed to contain the disease in "settings characterized by extreme poverty, dysfunctional health systems, a severe shortage of doctors, and rampant fear."

The WHO, which did not estimate the number of unreported cases, warned that the crisis could continue for months, CNN reports. At the heart of the outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, governments are trying to contain the outbreak with a tactic once used to combat the Black Death. But in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, no new cases have been detected since an air traveler became sick last month, the WHO says. Two people, however, have died and many others have been sickened after drinking a salt solution that was rumored to prevent infection, the BBC reports. (More World Health Organization stories.)

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