Efforts to contain the virus continue as cases and deaths keep rising. As of August 11, the total suspected Ebola cases across Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria stands at 1,975 with 1,069 deaths attributed to the virus (WHO).
There are still zero cases in the neighboring countries of Guinea Bissau and Cote d’Ivoire, and these nations have established border restrictions to prevent the virus from entering. All main entry points between Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are officially closed, and Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority is enforcing a ban on bushmeat, a culturally difficult prohibition meant to eliminate one source of the virus (United Nations Mission in Liberia).
A crucial tactic in overcoming Ebola is diligently tracing infected individuals and the people they come into contact with. Liberia’s contact tracing efforts are now underway, and in Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, 94-98% of Ebola case contacts are being identified and followed-up (WHO).
After a request by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia will receive shipments of the experimental drug ZMAPP which was administered to United States citizens infected with Ebola (BBC). The medication is untested on humans, and there are legitimate ethical and scientific factors to consider (CBS NEWS). However, an expert WHO panel agreed that “unregistered interventions” are acceptable during this crisis if criteria like informed consent, transparency and respect for the person involved are fulfilled.
Confident that Ebola can be controlled, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recently emphasized the importance of addressing the shortage of medical professionals and protective equipment on the ground.