The director for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says that the Ebola outbreak is going to get worse.
Speaking to “CBS This Morning” following his trip to the West African countries dealing with the outbreak, Dr. Tom Frieden explained that they have to act now to try to get Ebola under control.
“It is the world’s first Ebola epidemic and it is spiraling out of control. It’s bad now and it’s going to get worse in the very near future,” Frieden told CBS News. “There is still a window of opportunity to tamp it down, but that window is closing. We really have to act now.”
Frieden, who visited Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, will tell Washington tomorrow that the Ebola outbreak is “spiraling upward.” The CDC director explained that these countries still need help to deal with the deadly outbreak.
“We need to support countries with resources, with technical experts and with cooperation. Too many places are sealing off these countries,” Frieden told CBS News. “If we do that, paradoxically, it’s going to reduce safety everywhere else. Whether we like it or not, we’re all connected and it’s in our interest to help them tamp this down and control it.”
Frieden said that they cannot wait for vaccines to deal with the disease.
“Vaccines and treatments may come along, but right now what we have are tried and true methods that we have to scale up. They have worked in prior outbreaks but we are not getting to scale,” Frieden told “CBS This Morning.” “The epidemic is going faster than we are. We need to scale up our response. We can hope for new tools and maybe they’ll come, but we can’t count on them.”
During a CDC briefing Monday afternoon, Frieden reiterated his comments to CBS News and said that the outbreak is “now increasing rapidly.”
“This is not just a problem for West Africa, not just a problem for Africa, it’s a problem for the world and the world needs to respond,” Frieden said.
He added: “We need help now. We know how to stop it.”
An experimental drug, ZMapp, recently healed all 18 monkeys infected with the deadly virus in a study, boosting hopes that the treatment might help fight the outbreak raging through West Africa — once more of it can be made.
The monkeys were given the drug three to five days after they were infected with the virus and when most were showing symptoms. That is several days later than any other experimental Ebola treatment tested so far.
The drug also completely protected six other monkeys given a slightly different version of it three days after infection in a pilot test. These two studies are the first monkey tests ever done on ZMapp.
“The level of improvement was utterly beyond my honest expectation,” said one study leader, Gary Kobinger of the Public Health Agency of Canada in Winnipeg.
“For animal data, it’s extremely impressive,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which had a role in the work.
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SOURCE: CBS Atlanta/AP