Ebola virus spread by taxi passengers, says World Health Organisation

In Liberia, the disease has killed 1,089 people among 1,871 cases, the highest national toll,

The Ebola virus is spreading exponentially in Liberia, the World Health Organisation warned today.

The organisation said that motorbike-taxis and regular taxis are "a hot source of potential virus transmission" because they are not disinfected in Liberia, where conventional Ebola control measures "are not having an adequate impact".

The United Nations agency said aid partners needed to scale up efforts against Ebola by three- to fourfold in Liberia and elsewhere in West African countries battling the epidemic.

In Liberia, the disease has killed 1,089 people among 1,871 cases, the highest national toll, according to the WHO's update of last Friday. Overall in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, 2,097 have died out of 3,944 cases. Another 18 cases and seven deaths have been recorded in Nigeria and one non-fatal case in Senegal.

 

Fourteen of Liberia's 15 counties have reported confirmed cases, the WHO said on Monday. As soon as a new Ebola treatment centre is opened, it immediately overflows with patients, "pointing to a large but previously invisible caseload".

In Montserrado County, which includes the capital, Monrovia, and is home to more than one million people, a WHO investigative team estimated that 1,000 beds are urgently needed for Ebola patients, the statement said.

"The number of new cases is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them in Ebola-specific treatment centres," it said. "Many thousands of new cases are expected in Liberia over the coming three weeks."

REUTERS

* Scientists may have developed an effective vaccine for the Ebola virus after an experimental immunisation gave monkeys long-term protection from the deadly disease.

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