An Ebola outbreak that began in Guinea has turned into a cross-border crisis that could spread to more countries, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, calling for drastic action to halt the deadly epidemic.
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Despite efforts to contain the virus, WHO has recorded 635 infections, including 399 deaths, in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since the outbreak began in February.The crisis is already the deadliest outbreak since Ebola first emerged in central Africa in 1976, and the number of infections continues to rise.
"This is no longer a country-specific outbreak but a sub-regional crisis that requires firm action by governments and partners," said Luis Sambo, WHO regional director for Africa.
A special meeting of health ministers from 11 countries in will be held in Ghana next week to develop an inter-country response plan.
Ebola has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent, with no vaccine and no known cure. There were no previous cases reported in West Africa. The virusinitially causes raging fever, headaches, muscle pain, conjunctivitis and weakness, before moving into more severe phases.