$600m needed to fight Ebola in West Africa

Cape Town – The United Nations (UN) says $600m in supplies is required to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, reports say, as the death toll passes 1 900.

The Guardian quoted the World Health Organisation (WHO) as saying the Ebola epidemic, which has spread to Liberia, Senegal, Nigeria, Guinea and Sierra Leone, was the "longest, the most severe and most complex we’ve ever seen".  

This comes as reports on Wednesday said more than 1 900 people have died in the Ebola epidemic sweeping through the west of the African continent.  

Medical workers of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy hospital of Monrovia, Liberia. (AFP)

The latest toll represented a significant increase from the 1 552 deaths and 3 069 cases reported by the Geneva-based organisation just days ago, according to an AFP report.

Emergency meeting

Another report by BBC quoting the WHO said more than 40% of the deaths have occurred in three weeks leading up to 3 September, indicating that the epidemic is fast outpacing efforts to control it.

The report said the WHO was meeting on Thursday to examine the most promising treatments and to discuss how to fast-track testing and production.

Health care worker wearing full body suits burns infected items at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy hospital of Monrovia, Liberia. (Dominique Faget, AFP)

Disease control experts, medical researchers, officials from affected countries, and specialists in medical ethics will all be represented at the meeting in Geneva.

Another "emergency" meeting was expected to be held by The African Union (AU) next week aimed at hammering out a continent-wide strategy to deal with the Ebola epidemic.

Sick people wait for care outside the John Fitzgerald Kennedy hospital of Monrovia. (Dominique Faget, AFP)

The meeting to be held at the body's headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, would also deliberate on the suspension of flights, maritime and border closures.

The disease was first identified in DRC, then called Zaire, in 1976 in the north near the Ebola river, which gave the virus its name.

There is no vaccine for Ebola.