Ebola outbreak worse than predicted


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been highly underestimated, adding that the epidemic was far worse than previously thought. Over 1000 people in four countries, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria have died since the epidemic broke out.

"Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.

"WHO is co-ordinating a massive scaling up of the international response, marshalling support from individual countries, disease control agencies, agencies within the United Nations system, and others,” the organisation said on its website.

Ebola vaccines being developed

Due to its rarity, the rapid rise of the virus has left scientists scrambling to develop a drug or vaccine to help combat the spread as well as future Ebola outbreaks.

An untested vaccine developed in the United States, ZMapp, is in the process of being sent to Liberia as authorities try to contain the outbreak. Despite the side effects of the drug being unknown, it has already been administered to two American doctors and a Spanish priest who were infected while helping patients in Liberia.

The priest, 75-year old Miguel Pajares, died in a Spanish hospital three days ago, while the conditions of the American doctors, 33-year old Kent Brantly and 59-year old Nancy Writebol, is said to be improving after the admittance of ZMapp.

A second drug, known as TKM-Ebola, is currently being tested by Canadian firm, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals for possible inclusion. 


 Picture courtesy of redorbit.com