CDC Chief Says Ebola Outbreak is Worse than Feared

CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, visited Liberia to assess ongoing efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak and reported that the current prevention and treatment response has unable to stop the virus from spreading.

As director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, has been closely monitoring the ongoing efforts to contain the current Ebola outbreak in Africa.

In an effort to get a better handle on the situation, Frieden recently travelled to Liberia where, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), he found the situation is even worse than he had anticipated.

“This is an absolute emergency,” Frieden said during a radio interview. “We have never seen anything on this scale with Ebola before. Unfortunately, this situation is going to get worse before it gets better.”

Frieden said the medical community had “not yet turned the tide” in stopping the virus, and that there is still more work that needs to be done before the outbreak will be fully contained. That work, he said, includes more treatment centers that are equipped to handle the virus and better systems to dispose of the bodies of people who have died from it to prevent the virus from spreading further.

The AJC story noted that more than 1400 have died out of nearly 2600 people who have been infected with the Ebola virus in the past 5 months. Most of the reported cases have been in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone but there have been recent tests showing patients possibly infected in Nigeria as well with a potentially different strain of the virus.

“The numbers just keep going up, and the need for a global emergency response is enormous,” Frieden said during the interview. “This isn’t just a risk to Liberia and West Africa. With this kind of transmission, every day it goes on, it increases the risk of spread to other countries in Africa, other countries in the region.”