The Ebola epidemic that has struck West Africa shows no sign of abating. The number of cases and dead victims continue to rise to unprecedented levels with no end in sight. The World Health Organization has announced that there are no longer any experimental vaccines available for Ebola. The global supply has been exhausted and production of new batches of the vaccine will take several months. The World Health Organization also stated that the number of Ebola cases could rise to 21,000 in the next six weeks unless immediate intervention is undertaken. The number of cases could rise to 1 million by the end of January 2015.
In the meantime, those on burial details continue their grisly duty without the proper protection of environmental suits and rubber gloves. The countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone have taken drastic steps and quarantined entire townships to try to contain the virus. But the fear of Ebola by residents in these areas have caused many of them to try to escape the quarantines, further endangering the population. Media reports have confirmed that healthcare workers have come under attack by rural villagers who believe that the workers themselves are spreading the virus. Recently, eight health care workers were attacked and three killed by villagers in this mistaken assumption. The Centers for Disease Control has informed airlines to treat all bodily fluids as possible contaminants and also has recommended increased scrutiny of passengers.
In the United States. President Barack Obama took the unusual step of traveling to Atlanta and speaking at the CDC. In the speech, he attempted to calm the fears of American citizens and reiterated the United States’ commitment to continue aid in the affected region. As part of this commitment, he has sent 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West African regions to build treatment centers and provide additional medical care.