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Official Warns of Limited Opportunity to Fight Ebola



For VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

A top health expert warns that the world needs to deal with what he calls the “first Ebola epidemic the world has known.” Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control spoke to reporters at the C.D.C. headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. He warned that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could spread widely. He said a huge global effort is needed to contain the disease.

Dr. Frieden just returned from a visit to the most affected countries: Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. He said Ebola cases continue to increase quickly even though health care workers are working extremely hard against the spread. News reports say the number of cases is more than 5,000. Dr. Frieden warned that there is a window of opportunity to stop Ebola. But he added that window is closing. The C.D.C. chief said the Ebola virus is spreading in two ways: from patients to care givers and through unsafe treatment of the dead.

Dr. Frieden warned that each day’s delay in dealing with the Ebola spread makes it more difficult to stop. The C.D.C. director said resources, technical experts and a worldwide, organized and unified plan are needed. He said Ebola is not only an African problem, but a world problem. U.S. health officials have announced an agreement with a California-based drugmaker, Mapp Biopharmaceuticals. The deal calls for the company to speed development of the experimental Ebola medicine ZMapp. ZMapp has not been tested on humans. But, two American medical missionaries who had Ebola were treated with the drug and recovered.