GENEVA (AA) – It will take at least six months to bring the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa under control, the NGO Doctors Without Borders has said.
The group’s international president, Joanne Liu, said on Friday: “If we don’t stabilize Liberia, we will never stabilize the region. Over the next six months we should get the upper hand on the epidemic.”
Addressing reporters at the United Nations Office in Geneva after a 10-day visit to West Africa, Liu said more health experts are needed in the region to halt the spread of the virus.
The death toll in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria now stands at 1,069 with 1,975 reported cases. On Thursday, the World Health Organization said the number of cases was “massively underestimated.”
Comparing the scale of the outbreak to “wartime,” Liu said Doctors Without Borders had conducted extensive research in the region but “will not be able to curb the epidemic” alone.
The disease, which first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, can be transmitted to humans from wild animals and then spreads through contact with the body fluids of infected people.
Ebola has no confirmed cure or vaccine yet. However, an untested serum has been used.
Last week, the WHO emergency committee on Ebola declared the disease an international public health emergency, the third time such an alarm has been raised by the committee ever.
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