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Ebola is spreading fast in Liberia, where many thousands of new cases are expected over the coming three weeks, the World Health Organization has said.
“Transmission of the Ebola virus in Liberia is already intense and the number of new cases is increasing exponentially,” the WHO said in a statement on Monday.
The organization noted that motorbike and regular taxis are “a hot source of potential virus transmission” because they are not disinfected in Liberia, where conventional Ebola control measures “are not having an adequate impact”.
The UN agency said aid partners needed to scale up efforts against Ebola by three to four times in Liberia and elsewhere in West African countries battling the epidemic.
In Liberia, the disease has killed 1,089 people out of 1,871 cases – the highest national toll, the WHO said last Friday. Across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, a total of 2,097 have died out of 3,944 cases. Another 18 cases and seven deaths have been recorded in Nigeria and one non-fatal case in Senegal.
Fourteen of Liberia’s 15 counties have reported confirmed cases, the WHO said on Monday. As soon as a new Ebola treatment center is opened, it immediately overflows with patients, “pointing to a large but previously invisible caseload”.
In Montserrado County, which includes the capital, Monrovia, and is home to more than 1 million people, a WHO investigative team estimated that 1,000 beds are urgently needed for Ebola patients.
“The number of new cases is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them in Ebola-specific treatment centers,” the WHO said. “Many thousands of new cases are expected in Liberia over the coming three weeks.”