Sending its first warning signal, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could hit 20,000 cases, almost six times than the present number, which it says is already double the number reported last week.
The WHO figures show that 1,552 people have died from the Ebola virus out of a total of 3,069 cases reported so far in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. Almost 40% of them have been reported in the last, said the U.N. health agency.
“The outbreak continues to accelerate,” it warns the world and unveiled a new plan to mitigate the virus transmission in 6 to 9 months and sought $489 million over the period in addition to 750 global volunteers and 12,000 national workers to support the plan.
Meanwhile, Nigeria has reported one more death of a man who contracted Ebola after coming into contact with a traveler from Liberia, making it the sixth death in Nigeria and the the first one outside Lagos.
The WHO Roadmap to stem the Ebola crisis was prepared after collecting information received from a large number of partner countries and organizations, including health officials in the affected countries, the African Union, development banks, other UN agencies, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and countries providing direct financial support, said the agency.
It will serve as a framework for updating detailed operational plans. Priority is being given to needs for treatment and management centres, social mobilization, and safe burials. These plans will be based on site-specific data that are being set out in regular situation reports, which will begin this week.
The situation reports map the hotspots and hot zones, present epidemiological data showing how the outbreak is evolving over time, and communicate what is known about the location of treatment facilities and laboratories, together with data needed to support other elements of the roadmap.
The roadmap covers the health dimensions of the international response. These dimensions include key potential bottlenecks requiring international coordination, such as the supply of personal protective equipment, disinfectants, and body bags.
The WHO roadmap will form a separate UN-wide operational platform that brings in the skills and capacities of other agencies, including assets in the areas of logistics and transportation. The UN-wide platform provides delivery of food and other provisions, water supply and sanitation, and primary health care. The plans are supported by the World Bank, it said.