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Group says world is losing battle against Ebola


UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The international group Doctor Without Borders warned Tuesday that the world is losing the battle against Ebola and lamented that treatment centers in West Africa have been "reduced to places where people go to die alone" as the world struggles to contain the disease.

In separate remarks after a United Nations meeting on the crisis, the World Health Organization chief said everyone involved had underestimated the outbreak, which has now killed more than 1,500 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. U.N. officials implored governments worldwide to send medical workers and material contributions.

Meanwhile in Liberia, a missionary organization announced that another American doctor has become infected.

Doctors Without Borders, which has treated more than 1,000 Ebola patients in West Africa since March, is completely overwhelmed by the disease, said Joanne Liu, the organization's president. She called on other countries to contribute civilian and military medical personnel familiar with biological disasters.

"Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it," Liu said at a U.N. forum on the outbreak. "Ebola treatment centers are reduced to places where people go to die alone, where little more than palliative care is offered."

In Sierra Leone, she said, infectious bodies are rotting in the streets. Liberia had to build a new crematorium instead of new Ebola care centers.

At the U.N. meeting, WHO Director Margaret Chan thanked countries that have helped but said: "We need more from you. And we also need those countries that have not come on board."

Later at a news conference, she warned that the outbreak will get worse before it gets better.

The effort also needs protective gear, motorcycles, flatbed trucks and food, said David Nabarro, who is coordinating the U.N. response.

"The outbreak is advancing ahead of us. And we in our control efforts are falling behind," Nabarro said.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the situation is now the world's first Ebola epidemic, given how widely it's spreading in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The latest missionary to come down with the disease, a male obstetrician, was not immediately identified by the group Serving In Mission. He did not work in an Ebola ward. The group did not specify how he contracted the disease, but it can be spread through vaginal fluids.

A Liberian doctor on the missionary's treatment team said it was too soon to tell whether he will be evacuated. The doctor would speak only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with reporters.

Last month, two Americans, including one from the same missionary group, were evacuated to the United States for treatment after contracting Ebola in Liberia. The two recovered after receiving an experimental drug known as ZMapp. The manufacturer says it has run out of supplies of the drug and it will take months to produce more.

U.S. health officials on Tuesday announced a $24.9 million, 18-month contract with Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. to speed development of ZMapp. As part of the project, Mapp is to make a small amount of the drug for early-stage safety testing, while working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to accelerate the manufacturing process. HHS can extend the contract up to a total of $42.3 million.

The outbreak has taken a particularly high toll on health care workers, and nurses in Liberia and Sierra Leone have repeatedly gone on strike to demand hazard pay and better protective gear.

On Monday, nurses at a major hospital in the Liberian capital went on strike, according to spokesman Jerald P. Dennis III. While JFK hospital is treating Ebola patients, the striking nurses were all from non-Ebola wards.

Information Minister Lewis Brown said late Tuesday that the dispute had been resolved, but Dennis said discussions were ongoing.

Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone government said nurses were back at work Tuesday after a strike at a Freetown hospital this weekend. The government has said it will pay out all accrued hazard pay and double the allowance going forward.

Earlier Tuesday, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization warned that food in countries hit by Ebola is becoming more expensive and will become scarcer because some farmers can't reach their fields.

Authorities have cordoned off entire towns in an effort to halt the virus' spread. Surrounding countries have closed land borders, and airlines have suspended flights to and from the affected countries. Seaports are losing traffic, restricting food imports to the hardest-hit countries.

Those countries - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - all rely on grain from abroad to feed their people, according to the U.N. food agency. For instance, the price of cassava root, a staple in many West African diets, has gone up 150 percent in one market in Liberia's capital, Monrovia.

"Even prior to the Ebola outbreak, households in some of the affected areas were spending up to 80 percent of their incomes on food," said Vincent Martin, who is coordinating the food agency's response to the crisis. "Now these latest price spikes are effectively putting food completely out of their reach."


DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Associated Press writers Mike Stobbe in New York; Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia, Liberia; Clarence Roy-Macaulay in Freetown, Sierra Leone; Marc-Andre Boisvert in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; and Lauran Neergaard in Washington contributed to this report.

Join the discussion

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quincy_maxwell September 02 2014 at 1:59 PM

Seems the governments, the WHO, NIH and the CDC are hiding how bad this is. Everyone knows this is an epidemic now and probably close to out of control. You just cannot trust any organization that is associated with any government.

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4 replies
Carol Ensign September 02 2014 at 2:25 PM

what I really want to know is why has the United States stopped the college bound students from there from entering our country and our colleges? If this is transferred through bodily fluids why were the people that brought back the dr. and nurse wearing their totally enclosed body suits. Why are drs not protecting themselves from touching the bodily fluids of patients? I have so many questions but the biggest is why are the college bound foreign students allowed to
continue here.

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5 replies
JOSE--USMC--0311 September 02 2014 at 2:13 PM


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6 replies
churchstreet3 September 02 2014 at 2:18 PM

ahh yes but we are told it's no threat to america. with our borders unsecure and anyone and everyone crossing over don't be too sure

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2 replies
Mike Keefer churchstreet3 September 02 2014 at 5:34 PM

It is as big a threat to America as cholera.
When was the last time we had an epidemic of cholera raging in America?
Having high sanitation standards and good quality water makes a big difference in the progress of some diseases.

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1 reply
mo524 Mike Keefer September 02 2014 at 9:28 PM

You know I have said before and ill say it again thank a plumber.

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cpruitt221 churchstreet3 September 02 2014 at 6:42 PM

the difference in this and most diseases is that mothers and wives are not going to allow their family members to go without care and in doing this they will get sick with it-just imagine how it is without the sanitary conditions it takes to stay clean. They don't have toilets in many of these villages-they have latrines-wholes in the ground-their water has to be brought in in buckets-there is no antiseptic-if the ZMapp works it needs to be made in huge quantities to be able to treat these sure to be exposed people

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Ma Fosz September 02 2014 at 2:00 PM

If Ebola epidemic is not confined soon all the western world will have it.

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2 replies
hellyon3too Ma Fosz September 02 2014 at 4:01 PM

No, they won't. Take time to learn something about the disease before you spread your "The sky is falling" panic.

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3 replies
laclone Ma Fosz September 02 2014 at 8:11 PM

Only among the stupid and un-educated people.
Maybe you'd better take shelter.

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1 reply
spdy65 laclone September 02 2014 at 10:55 PM

Are you saying the doctors and professionals that have contacted it are stupid and uneducated? I think you ruined your own point by your own example.

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Kim September 02 2014 at 2:02 PM

this my friends is messages about the direction we as a people are going in...eventually this all leads to the end of civilization. We are destroying our lands, water and air, we are killing animals and ourselves even though we are supposedly soooo smart-well if we are sooooo smart how come?

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4 replies
Wes Covert September 02 2014 at 2:10 PM

I blame the gov. this country has always been a testing ground for the drug companies and biological warfare--and if you listen to conspiracy theories it will come to the usa----that's what all of them coffins and fema camps are for

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2 replies
hellyon3too Wes Covert September 02 2014 at 4:02 PM

Then stop listening to conspiracy theories, because they are all the imaginings of a bunch of paranoid crack pots.

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1 reply
rohrscheibcroh hellyon3too September 02 2014 at 4:46 PM

lol conspiracy there are many people dead now doctors .funny you call it that

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doketx Wes Covert September 02 2014 at 8:04 PM

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

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Odens Fist September 02 2014 at 2:38 PM

What is that in the picture on the wheelchair..?? Is that the person's legs all swollen beyond recognition.??
No Travel from Africa to the U.S.A. NOW..!!! The Plague must be stopped, not allowed to spread to the rest of the world.. Well maybe to the Middle East, that wouldn't be a loss to mankind.

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2 replies
pughugsscassidy Odens Fist September 02 2014 at 5:29 PM

It's an amputee's legs. Obviously from pre- ebola times.

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paxrail Odens Fist September 03 2014 at 5:15 AM

It's very warm over there. The man's carcass has started to decompose and swell up. The legs are swollen from decomposition.

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golffrdlrs September 02 2014 at 2:22 PM

Notice all the signs and shirts in the pictures that say ebola is real. Imagine how hard it is to control something like this in places with this kind of superstition and lack of trust of modern medicine and science. They are more likely to go to witch doctors or faith healers than real doctors.

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bri71666 September 03 2014 at 12:40 AM

World is losing battle because they want people to die. And these idiot doctors from the US that go over there for "humanitarian reasons" should stay their forever! Dont let them back here like the idiots did weeks ago! Dont take the chance of spreading it to innocent people.

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