, MONROVIA, Sept 10 – Ebola is threatening the very existence of Liberia as the killer virus spreads like “wild fire”, the defence minister warned Tuesday, following a grim World Health Organization assessment that the worst is yet to come.
After predicting an “exponential increase” in infections across West Africa, the WHO warned that Liberia, which has accounted for half of all fatalities, could initially only hope to slow the contagion, not stop it.
“Liberia is facing a serious threat to its national existence,” Defence Minister Brownie Samukai told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
The disease is “now spreading like wild fire, devouring everything in its path,” he said.
The WHO upped the Ebola death toll on Tuesday to 2,296 out of 4,293 cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria as of September 6. Nearly half of all infections had occurred in the past 21 days, it said.
The agency also evacuated its second infected medical expert, a doctor who had been working at an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone.
Emory University Hospital in the United States admitted an American on Tuesday who had contracted the disease in West Africa, but declined to confirm whether the patient was the WHO employee.
The hospital has successfully treated two other infected US nationals.
Ebola, transmitted through bodily fluids, leads to haemorrhagic fever and – in over half of cases – death. There is no specific treatment regime and no licensed vaccine.