Ebola outbreak: Virus is 'totally out of control' warns Doctors Without Borders medic

Almost 330 deaths have been linked to the virus

A senior official for Doctors Without Borders has warned that the Ebola virus is “totally out of control” in west Africa, where an outbreak of the disease has killed more people than ever before. 

The current outbreak began in Guinea either between the beginning and end of last year, but had appeared to slow before picking up pace again in recent weeks, including spreading to the Liberian capital for the first time.

Ebola has since been linked to more than 330 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Doctors Without Borders' director of operations, Bart Janssens, said that the medical group’s resources are becoming increasingly stretched, and urged both the governments of the countries affected and international organisations to send in more health experts.

“The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave,” Janssens said. “And, for me, it is totally out of control.”

With more than 40 international staff currently on the ground and four treatment centers, Doctors Without Borders has reached its limit to respond, Janssens said. It is unclear if the group will be able to mirror the current treatment centres set up in Guinea and Sierra Leone in newly affected Liberia, he said.

“There needs to be a real political commitment that this is a very big emergency,” he said. “Otherwise, it will continue to spread, and for sure it will spread to more countries.”

Janssens went on to accuse the countries involved of not recognising the gravity of the situation, and criticise the WHO for not doing enough to inspire local leaders to act.

The deadly Ebola virus is spreading through West Africa The deadly Ebola virus is spreading through West Africa
The UN health agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but Earlier in the week, WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said that the multiple locations of the current outbreak and its movement across borders make it one of the “most challenging Ebola outbreaks ever.”

“This is the highest outbreak on record and has the highest number of deaths, so this is unprecedented so far,” Armand Sprecher, a public health specialist with Doctors Without Borders, told reporters.

Ebola causes internal bleeding and organ failure, and spreads through direct contact with infected people. There is no cure or vaccine, so containing an outbreak focuses on supportive care for the ill and isolating them to limit the spread of the virus.

Janssens added that members of the public need to be better educated so they know to come forward when symptoms occur, and to avoid touching the sick and dead.

Tolbert Nyenswah, Liberia's deputy minister of health, said the highest levels of government are working to contain the outbreak, noting that Liberia had a long period with no new cases before this second wave.

Unni Krishnan of Plan International, which provides equipment to the three countries, claimed that while Governments and international agencies were struggling to contain the disease, he noted that Ebola has struck one of the world's poorest regions, where public health systems are already fragile.

The highest previous death toll was in the first recorded Ebola outbreak in Congo in 1976, when 280 deaths were reported. But as Ebola often spreads in remote areas where first cases sometimes go unrecognized, it is likely that there are deaths that go uncounted.

Additional reporting by AP

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Shine Night Walk 2014 - 'On the night' volunteer roles

Unpaid Voluntary Work : Cancer Research UK: We need motivational volunteers to...

Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable)

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable...

Senior IT Trainer - Buckinghamshire - £250 - £350 p/d

£200 - £300 per day: Ashdown Group: IT Trainer - Marlow, Buckinghamshire - £25...

Education Recruitment Consultant- Learning Support

£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star