AFRICA – The director-general of the World Health Organization warned Friday that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is spreading quickly and the consequences could be “catastrophic” if greater efforts to control the outbreak aren’t put into place now. “This outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it,” Director-General Margaret Chan told the presidents of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast at a gathering in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. “If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries,” she said. The world’s largest Ebola outbreak is in its fifth month and escalating in a poor corner of West Africa. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have together reported 1,323 cases, of whom 729 people have died. Neighboring Ivory Coast is at risk if the outbreak isn’t tamed. Also Friday, French authorities recommended for a second day that nationals suspend all travel to West African countries where cases of Ebola have been identified in a bid to prevent spread of the deadly disease to France. The WHO’s Dr. Chan praised the leaders gathered for their concern and political commitment—demonstrated this week with new measures such as deploying soldiers to quarantine stricken neighborhoods in Sierra Leone. More
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