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Ebola could Cost $32 Billion

Update Date: Oct 08, 2014 09:58 AM EDT

Despite efforts to maintain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the virus continues to spread. In a new report, the World Bank Group examined the financial burdens of treating this virus. The group estimated that if the epidemic is not controlled within Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and starts to spread to neighboring nations, the outbreak could cost up to $32.6 billion by the end of next year.

"With Ebola's potential to inflict massive economic costs on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and the rest of their neighbors in West Africa, the international community must find ways to get past logistical roadblocks and bring in more doctors and trained medical staff, more hospital beds and more health and development support to help stop Ebola in its tracks," said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank reported by TIME.

Within the report, the experts estimated that if the virus is contained within the three West African countries, the economic burden could reach nine billion. Kim added that many of these costs "could have been avoided by prudent ongoing investment in strengthening health care systems."

The group also stressed the importance of controlling and preventing the epidemic from worsening with the help of both national and international action. However, in order to receive help, the fear factor must be eliminated. Due to fears about the epidemic, many countries have closed themselves off from the affected areas. By doing so, the three countries lose out on assistance that could potentially stop the epidemic at a faster pace.

Ebola has already killed over 3,000 people in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Even though the report focuses on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, over the past months, the virus has also affected Nigeria. Ebola has showed up in one patient on American soil and in another patient in Spain.

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