WHO: Scope of Ebola Outbreak May Be 'Vastly Underestimated'
(HealthDay News) — The magnitude of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa may be far greater than the current statistics indicate, officials from the World Health Organization said Friday.
Patients are flooding treatment centers that have just been opened, and the recorded case and death tolls may "vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak," said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl, the Associated Press reported. For example, an 80-bed treatment center that recently opened in Liberia's capital filled up immediately, Hartl noted, and dozens of people lined up the next day to be treated for Ebola.
The latest WHO figures peg the death toll at 1,069, with nearly 2,000 confirmed cases. At this point, Ebola cases have been reported in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. In a bit of good news, no new cases have been detected in Nigeria following the deaths of three people in the past month, according to the latest update from WHO.
Experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have helped Nigerian health officials with monitoring efforts in that country, and that has kept the number of additional cases down, WHO said. The CDC is also providing computer software and hardware to the countries hit hardest by Ebola, so officials there can track and analyze the outbreak's spread in real time. Food is being delivered to the more than one million people who are now in quarantine zones by the World Food Programme. These zones are mostly located where the borders of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone intersect.