CDC: Window to Control Ebola is Closing
According to health officials across the world, the window of opportunity to maintain and end the Ebola outbreak is closing. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) director, Tom Frieden, added, upon his return from a week-long trip to the four West African nations affected by the outbreak, that the virus is spreading at a much faster pace than he had previously believed.
"Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it," Joanne Liu, international president of medical charity Doctors Without Borders, said in a briefing at the United Nations reported by the Washington Post. Liu added that the outbreak has grown over the past few months due to the world leaders' poor assessment of the severity of the situation at the beginning back in March. She said that the situation was too much for charities and the West African nations to control on their own.
Frieden stated, "There is a window of opportunity to tamp this down, but that window is closing. We need action now to scale up, and we need to scale up to massive levels . . . I cannot overstate the need for an urgent response."
These health officials stressed the importance of boosting efforts to control the epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. Frieden stated that over the next two weeks, based on how the disease is currently moving throughout the nations, more cases can be expected. Without better control on the transmission, the outbreak will threaten the "stability" of these countries as well as nearby countries.
"The challenge isn't knowing what to do. The challenge is doing it now. The virus is moving faster than anyone anticipated. We need to move fast," he said according to Reuters Health.
Frieden added that even though research focused on creating treatments and vaccines is important, these things could take up to years to develop. The outbreak does not have that much time. Instead, health aid workers have to do a better job at isolating both the confirmed cases and the suspected ones. Medical equipment that can prevent transmission from patient to doctor is vital as well. All of these measures require funding as well as personnel.