Liberia: Ebola Fight May Take Four Months – WHO

The World Health Organization or WHO says the deadly Ebola virus plaguing West Africa is expected to take from two to four months to contain.

A report Tuesday by Reuters said the virus is still spreading in three "hotspots" of Guinea Forestiere, a southeastern region some 900 km (560 miles) from Conakry, a city which has itself reported 20 cases to date, quoting the United Nations agency.

However, the WHO said it was not recommending any travel restrictions for Guinea, which has a total of 157 suspected and confirmed cases, including 101 deaths, or for Liberia, which has 21 suspected and confirmed cases, including 10 deaths.

"We fully expect to be engaged in this outbreak for the next two to three to four months before we are comfortable that we are through it," Dr. Keija Fukuda, WHO assistant director-general, told a Geneva news briefing."This is one of the most challenging outbreaks of Ebola we have ever faced," he said.

Latest reports reaching the NewDawn late Tuesday from Lofa County, Northwestern Liberia, said a Zambian Doctor, who was rendering free services at Boma, is seriously sick and has instructed that nobody should touch him. Another source reported death of a man, James Daah, of Bolahun on Monday from Ebola, but these have not be independently confirmed.

Meanwhile, WHO drew the attention of West African countries which imposed prohibitions or restrictions on travel to ECOWAS citizens as measure to halt the spread of the Ebola Virus, saying they should allow free movement to travelers within and out of the sub-region. World Health Organization Ghana's country manager, Dr Magda Robalo, made the call on April 7, 2014, in Accra while addressing a group of journalists.

The statement came several weeks after Senegal, officially announced that it has closed its border with Guinea. It is also rumored that some West African countries are considering restriction measures, including closing their borders with countries where the epidemic is confirmed.

WHO medical officer Stephane Hugonnet, just back from Guinea, is quoted as saying, "In Guinea Forestiere, the outbreak is not over, this is the epicenter. As long as it is not over there, there will be cases exported to the rest of the country."

Some 50 foreign experts have been deployed to help with infection control measures at hospitals and to trace 600 known contacts of infected patients, he said. Most new cases were linked to known transmission chains, which he said was "reassuring".

Ebola fever is transmitted by direct contact with infected people, as well as by infected animals. It is manifested by symptoms that include internal and external bleedings, diarrheas and vomiting.

Credit: The New Dawn (Monrovia)

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