Doctors Without Borders: The Ebola Outbreak In West Africa Is 'Totally Out Of Control'

A doctor works in a laboratory on collected samples of the Ebola virus at the Centre for Disease Control in Entebbe, Uganda, following an outbreak that killed 16 people in 2012.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is “totally out of control” according to a senior official for Doctors without Borders.

The Doctors without Borders director of operations, Bart Janssens, has told Al Jazeera without more help the outbreak will continue to spread.

“The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave,” Janssens said. “And, for me, it is totally out of control.”

New figures from the World Health Organization show more than a 60% rise in the death toll.

The outbreak is believed to have originated in Guinea late last year but the spread has increased its pace in recent weeks and authorities are particularly worried about the outbreak in Sierra Leone, where dozens of people have died from the virus.

Already linked to around 330 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization, Janssens says: “It’s the first time in an Ebola epidemic where [Doctors Without Borders] teams cannot cover all the needs, at least for treatment centres.

“I’m absolutely convinced that this epidemic is far from over and will continue to kill a considerable amount of people, so this will definitely end up the biggest ever.

Janssens fears governments affected have not recognised the severity of the outbreak, criticising WHO for not doing enough.

“There needs to be a real political commitment that this is a very big emergency,” he said.

“Otherwise, it will continue to spread, and for sure it will spread to more countries.”

Ebola which causes high fevers, vomiting, diarrhoea and often death continues to spread because “there is still not a real change of behaviour of the people”, says Janssens.

Janssens believes the only way to stop the spread is to persuade people to come forward when symptoms occur.

“So a lot of sick people still remain in hiding or continue to travel. And there is still news that burial practices are remaining dangerous.

“I’m absolutely convinced that this epidemic is far from over and will continue to kill a considerable amount of people.”

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