The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that there is no end in sight to this Ebola outbreak after reporting that up to 170 healthcare workers have contracted the disease in their efforts to treat patients in the African countries hardest hit by the virus.
In a statement released on August 11, the WHO warns that the “Ebola virus disease in west Africa continues to evolve in alarming ways, with no immediate end in sight,” and laments that “many barriers” stand in the way of an effective campaign to stop the advance of the virus.
The health agency says that the outbreak has “stretched all capacities to the breaking point.”
Astonishingly, the WHO reports that in some west African countries patients possibly infected with the virus are actually being turned away because facilities are already full, raising fears that people with Ebola are returning to their neighborhoods to possibly spread the disease further.
The organization also notes that 170 healthcare workers have contracted the virus and 80 have already died. Most of these healthcare workers have been ministering to patients in head-to-toe hazmat-style suits but have still become sick, frightening the entire healthcare community.
The WHO also reports that people in the far flung rural regions are still fearful of healthcare workers and are confused about how the disease is contracted causing many to hide sick family members from authorities. This, in turn, gives the disease more room to spread.
Finally, the outbreak is such an emergency that the WHO is meeting with medical ethicists in order to craft a policy of treating human patients with experimental treatments in a desperate effort to put a halt to the spread of the virus.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com