Ebola outbreak: WHO calls for emergency talks as death toll reaches 467 in West Africa

Outbreak of the deadly virus is the worst in recorded history

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The Independent Online

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has now killed 467 people says the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The deadly virus has a mortality rate of 90 per cent and no known cure. It’s spread by contact with the bodily fluids of infected humans or animals, with symptoms including fever, fatigue and internal bleeding setting in two weeks after infection.

The current outbreak is believed to have begun in Guinea at the beginning of 2014. The virus has since spread to neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia and has been declared the worst outbreak in history.

Health ministers from 11 West African countries will meet in Ghana this Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the current crisis with WHO calling for “drastic action”.

"Containment of this outbreak requires a strong response in the countries and especially along their shared border areas," said the United Nations organization.

The latest report shows a 38 per cent increase in deaths and 27 per cent increase in the number of suspected cases since the last update a week ago. “As of 30 June 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the three countries stands at 759, including 467 deaths,” said WHO.

The health body said that the spread of the virus is being facilitated by “cross-border transmission” between Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, “where commercial and social activities continue among the border areas of these countries.”

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is believed to be the only aid organization currently treated people affected with the virus, with director of operations Dr Bart Janssens describing the situation as “totally out of control”.

“We have reached our limits,” said Dr Janssens. “Despite the human resources and equipment deployed by MSF in the three affected countries, we are no longer able to send teams to the new outbreak sites.”

MSF has urged WHO to deploy the resources needed to fight such an epidemic, with Dr Janssens warning: “Ebola is no longer a public health issue limited to Guinea: it is affecting the whole of West Africa.”