The Ebola outbreak is devastating West Africa and will spread to more countries unless more aid is provided, an official with the group Doctors Without Borders said Friday.
The outbreak has been linked to 337 deaths across Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and is now the deadliest on record, according to numbers released by the World Health Organization.
International governments and aid organizations need to send more health experts to the area and step up education efforts to curb the outbreak, Bart Janssens, director of operations for Doctors Without Borders in Brussels, told the Associated Press on Friday.
"The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave," Janssens said. "And, for me, it is totally out of control."
He said it was the first Ebola epidemic in which Doctors Without Borders teams "cannot cover all the needs, at least for treatment centers."
It is the deadliest outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever since the first reported outbreak in 1976 killed 280 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the WHO.
"This is the highest outbreak on record and has the highest number of deaths, so this is unprecedented so far," Armand Sprecher, a public health specialist with Doctors Without Borders, told the Associated Press.
Ebola fever is a severe, often fatal illness in humans and outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%, according to the WHO.
Janssens said the governments in the affected region had not initially recognized the severity of the outbreak, which began in Guinea either late last year or early this year.
"There needs to be a real political commitment that this is a very big emergency," Janssens said. "Otherwise, it will continue to spread, and for sure it will spread to more countries."
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