Ebola poses threat to humanity - US

Dakar - Ebola represents a threat to all humanity and an outbreak of the virus in five West African countries will likely spread to more, American officials warned on Wednesday.

"This is not an African disease. This is a virus that is a threat to all humanity," Gayle Smith, special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director at the National Security Council, told reporters during a telephone briefing.

About half of the 3 000 people sickened have died in the current Ebola outbreak, which has hit Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal.

The disease is spreading faster than health workers can keep up with it, said Tom Kenyon, of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, who recently visited the affected region and who also spoke in the briefing.

But Kenyon said that the world has the tools to stop the outbreak; they just have to be put in place. He said more treatment centres are currently being opened and that he is about to start negotiations with the African Union to send more health workers.

"I think we're confident if we put these treatment units up, the health workers will come, but of course they have to be adequately trained and supervised and equipped with personal protective equipment," he said.

Many on the ground have said there aren't enough protective suits for health workers, who have become infected in large numbers in this outbreak. The US government is "ramping up significantly" donations of protective gear, said Smith, the Obama adviser.

Kenyon said the key to solving the outbreak will be the effective implementation of measures used in all previous outbreaks: isolating and treating the sick, monitoring their contacts for signs of disease and safely burying the dead. He said experimental vaccines and treatments would not be available in time to make a difference.

One such experimental drug is ZMapp, which has been given to seven people so far in this outbreak. The company has said that all of its doses are now exhausted, and it will be months before more can be made.

It is also still not clear if the drug is effective, since human trials have not yet been carried out. Some of the people who received ZMapp died, while some survived.

William Pooley, a British nurse who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone, was among those who received the drug. He was discharged from a London hospital on Wednesday after making a full recovery.

He said his superior care was largely responsible for his survival.

"I was very lucky in several ways: Firstly in the standard of care that I received, which is a world apart from what people are receiving in West Africa, despite various organisations' best efforts," Pooley told reporters. "The other difference is that my symptoms never progressed to the worst stage of the disease."

Pooley, 29, was flown back to Britain on 24 Aug and was cared for in a special isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital.

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Patrick Vianello 2014/09/03 06:23:44 PM
Whether people like it or not. The Earth is over 6 billion years old and it has always used mechanisms to keep going. A cataclysmic event destroyed the dinosaurs as they probably posed a threat to the planet. Today, population growth rates are out of control and hence the Earth's natural reaction is balance. Hence it will either use events such as massive Earthquakes, Tsunami's or disease to control the population size. Because eventually there will be too many people on this planet where food will become too short and we will overgraze the land. The biggest threat to humanity is our population growth rate as resources become more and more scarce but nobody will listen to this until it is too late
Wayne Lombard 2014/09/03 06:25:15 PM
You stupid ape...
Peter Webb 2014/09/03 06:30:59 PM
Wayne are you referring to Patrick then you are the stupid one.
Rameez Mookadan 2014/09/03 06:40:37 PM
Yoh!when a threat to humanity itself says something else is a threat humanity...oh the irony!
Geoff Skelton 2014/09/03 06:47:36 PM
As population density increases the likelyhood of a killer disease spreading and wiping out millions increases. This is why bird flu and others come to the fore in china and indonesia where people and their animals are packed in closely. This is also the same reason that this disease is spreading in afica though here we have the added complication of a very unsophisticated populace who believe that the carers are trying to round them up to die. We will also have the "clever" people who get exposed jumping on an aircraft to go to a Western country for proper treatment thus spreading it there. We should nail down the borders completely until this thing has burnt out. We keep getting all this liberal waffle about freedoms to travel etc. but this is killing people. Maybe round up all these liberals and send them to west africa to help.
Mangwana Ndiwe 2014/09/03 07:06:52 PM
Why only seven ppl out of 3000.isnt it 50-50 u die or servive, jus give thm the drug
Mangwana Ndiwe 2014/09/03 07:07:39 PM
Why only seven ppl out of 3000.isnt it 50-50 u die or servive, jus give thm the drug
Jacques Le Roux 2014/09/03 07:34:15 PM
No US, ISIS poses the threat to humanity. Stop evading the issue.
Darrell Matodes 2014/09/03 07:52:07 PM
Simple logic idiots
Waine Smith 2014/09/03 07:53:55 PM
I am a massive proponent of the notion that the majority of the earth's problems are related to overpopulation...