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U.S. official warns Ebola outbreak will get worse

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — A third top doctor has died from Ebola in Sierra Leone, a government official said Wednesday, as a leading American health official warned that the outbreak sweeping West Africa would get worse.

The disease has already killed more than 1,400 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and Doctors Without Borders warned that the tremendous influx of patients in Liberia, in particular, is overwhelming their treatment centers there.

"I wish I didn't have to say this, but it is going to get worse before it gets better," Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said of the outbreak at the end of a visit to Liberia, where he described the situation as dire.

Liberia has recorded the highest number of cases and deaths of any of the four countries. Doctors Without Borders said in a statement that a new treatment center recently opened in the country's capital with 120 beds filled up almost immediately.

The tremendous number of patients means that the medical charity is not able to provide those patients with intravenous treatments, a primary way doctors keep people who are losing a tremendous amount of fluid alive.

The group did not mention Frieden's visit or recent U.N. ones, but it said discussions happening now about international coordination are coming too late and that there are countries that could make a dramatic difference if they provided more expertise and resources. It did not name the countries.

"This is not only an Ebola outbreak — it is a humanitarian emergency, and it needs a full-scale humanitarian response," Lindis Hurum, the group's emergency coordinator in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, said in the statement.

Frieden travels next to Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said it was notified Tuesday of an unrelated Ebola outbreak in Congo. The agency said Wednesday that 13 of the 24 people sickened there have died.

Liberian soldiers patrol the seaside of West Point by boat, an area that has been hit hard by the Ebola virus. Residents are not allowed to leave the area as government forces clamp down on movement to prevent the spread of the disease.

Associated Press

Liberian soldiers patrol the seaside of West Point by boat, an area that has been hit hard by the Ebola virus. Residents are not allowed to leave the area as government forces clamp down on movement to prevent the spread of the disease.

U.S. official warns Ebola outbreak will get worse 08/27/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 10:04pm]
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