"Current Ebola Outbreak Is Different," WHO Warns "Unprecedented" Number Of Medical Staff Infected

Tyler Durden's picture

The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa is unprecedented in many ways, including the high proportion of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers who have been infected, warns the World Health Organization. Despite all precautions possible, more than 240 health care workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died. Simply put, they conclude, the current outbreak is different. The loss of so many doctors and nurses has made it difficult for WHO to secure support from sufficient numbers of foreign medical staff. Even WHO admits, if doctors and nurses are getting infected, what chance does the general public have?


Full WHO Statement:

The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa is unprecedented in many ways, including the high proportion of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers who have been infected.

To date, more than 240 health care workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died.

Ebola has taken the lives of prominent doctors in Sierra Leone and Liberia, depriving these countries not only of experienced and dedicated medical care but also of inspiring national heroes.

Several factors help explain the high proportion of infected medical staff. These factors include shortages of personal protective equipment or its improper use, far too few medical staff for such a large outbreak, and the compassion that causes medical staff to work in isolation wards far beyond the number of hours recommended as safe.

In the past, some Ebola outbreaks became visible only after transmission was amplified in a health care setting and doctors and nurses fell ill. However, once the Ebola virus was identified and proper protective measures were put in place, cases among medical staff dropped dramatically.

Moreover, many of the most recent Ebola outbreaks have occurred in remote areas, in a part of Africa that is more familiar with this disease, and with chains of transmission that were easier to track and break.

The current outbreak is different. Capital cities as well as remote rural areas are affected, vastly increasing opportunities for undiagnosed cases to have contact with hospital staff. Neither doctors nor the public are familiar with the disease. Intense fear rules entire villages and cities.

Several infectious diseases endemic in the region, like malaria, typhoid fever, and Lassa fever, mimic the initial symptoms of Ebola virus disease. Patients infected with these diseases will often need emergency care. Their doctors and nurses may see no reason to suspect Ebola and see no need to take protective measures.

Some documented infections have occurred when unprotected doctors rushed to aid a waiting patient who was visibly very ill. This is the first instinct of most doctors and nurses: aid the ailing.

In many cases, medical staff are at risk because no protective equipment is available – not even gloves and face masks. Even in dedicated Ebola wards, personal protective equipment is often scarce or not being properly used.

Training in proper use in absolutely essential, as are strict procedures for infection prevention and control.

In addition, personal protective equipment is hot and cumbersome, especially in a tropical climate, and this severely limits the time that doctors and nurses can work in an isolation ward. Some doctors work beyond their physical limits, trying to save lives in 12-hour shifts, every day of the week. Staff who are exhausted are more prone to make mistakes.

All personal protective equipment despatched or approved by WHO meets the appropriate international safety standards.

The heavy toll on health care workers in this outbreak has a number of consequences that further impede control efforts.

It depletes one of the most vital assets during the control of any outbreak. WHO estimates that, in the three hardest-hit countries, only one to two doctors are available to treat 100,000 people, and these doctors are heavily concentrated in urban areas.

It can lead to the closing of health facilities, especially when staff refuse to come to work, fearing for their lives. When hospitals close, other common and urgent medical needs, such as safe childbirth and treatment for malaria, are neglected.

The fact that so many medical staff have developed the disease increases the level of anxiety: if doctors and nurses are getting infected, what chance does the general public have? In some areas, hospitals are regarded as incubators of infection and are shunned by patients with any kind of ailment, again reducing access to general health care.

The loss of so many doctors and nurses has made it difficult for WHO to secure support from sufficient numbers of foreign medical staff.

The African Union has launched an urgent initiative to recruit more health care workers from among its members.

*  *  *

Have no fear though... Ebola infection is low-risk...

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
observer007's picture

A Liberian doctor who was among three Africans to receive an experimental Ebola drug has died, the country's information minister said Monday.


Latest News



drendebe10's picture

No worries... just hold ur breath

GetZeeGold's picture



You don't suppose ISIS would think about crossing ebola laden children accross the southern border and then moving them to dots on the US map do you?


Yeah, I didn't think so.

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

"Current Ebola Outbreak Is Different"

Jesus... you think? It doesn't take an MD working for a global organization to figure that one out.

Leopold B. Scotch's picture

A good Ebola outbreak is great economic news. Think about all the mobilization this will require, jarring loose all those horded dollars sitting idle on the sidelines. While it is tragic, the more severe the outbreak becomes, the greater the Keynesian Miracle we can expect.


Surely, this is no Space Alien invasion mega mobilization, but I'm shocked Krugman hasn't written about it yet. (though you know he's figting hard not to)

Central Bankster's picture

You know Krugman's defenders would say his ideology wouldn't support "Ebola for economic growth", but I don't think it really is.  I mean, if the man is happy with us fighting (and dieing) to aliens in the name of economic growth, why would people dieing to Ebola be any worse from his perspective? 


Think of all the resources that will be utilized to fight this thing!  /sarc

TerminalDebt's picture

with a kill rate of 80% there will be a massive oversupply of houses when it's done.

I'm ultra short real estate.


Latina Lover's picture

Looking at the optimistic side, if  we are lucky, Diplomats fleeing Africa  on their private jets could end up in Washington. When the first case of Ebola is announced, just watch the criminal politicians flee from the capital. We will be saved from the ravages of central government for at least a short period of time.

Keyser's picture

"This one is different"...

Perhaps the WHO should be asking those researchers from Tulane university that were "studying" weaponized ebola in Africa just WTF they did... 

fuu's picture

I am strangely comforted knowing there is an ISO icon for "dead dude in a puddle of his own hemorrhagic leakage".

ss123's picture

With only a couple virus particles needed to start an infection, you better be wearing a tight outfit.

drdolittle's picture

Probably hit US around flu season onset. Initial symptoms virtually indistinguishable from flu. I work in an ER, I'm hosed. I've always had good natural immunity, immunity I need you now baby!

BlindMonkey's picture

Is it too late to become a podiatrist?

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I agree. Mr miffed is very concerned and i am extremely worried about the flu season. It normally hits the east coast first. If anything, you and I with no natural local immunity are sitting ducks. EVERYONE is a potential vector. I'm afraid the first confirmed case here will be too late.


ebear's picture

More likely London and Geneva.

Urban Redneck's picture

To put some World Bank numbers I cited on Saturday in context.

Sierra Leone and Liberia account for than half of the ebola healthcare infections and fatalities and have a population of just under 10 million (about the same as Michigan). However, the estimate for the total healthcare workers to care for all the medical needs of that population of 10 million was (before the outbreak) only:

182 Physicians
3046 Nursing Midwifery & Other Health Workers
10 Dentistry personnel
133 Laboratory health workers

Or, far less than the 90,000+ employees and 17,000+ hospital beds at just the 5 largest healthcare providers in the bastion of economic progress and development known as Michigan...

A massive mobilization would have been needed to control this, as a quarantine would simply never work given the realities of migration and porous borders in Africa and Africa's role in the global supply chain.

Max Cynical's picture


The VA has 280,000 employees "serving" 6.5 million veterans

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

And what of the initial Ebola outbreak in 1976?  Any one read how the disease was transmitted that time?  (I will be back in 30 minutes to supply the answer, if no one comes up with it)

Oracle 911's picture

Probably bush meat. But the coincidence with Bill Gates sponsored UN vaccination program is really strange. If we take account Gates statements about vaccination and population reduction it rises suspicions. And if I were paranoid, I would...

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Long version from NIH:"The index case in this outbreak had onset of symptoms on 1 September 1976, five days after receiving an injection of chloroquine for presumptive malaria at the outpatient clinic at Yambuku Mission Hospital (YMH). He had a clinical remission of his malaria symptoms. Within one week several other persons who had received injections at YMH also suffered from Ebola haemorrhagic fever, and almost all subsequent cases had either received injections at the hospital or had had close contact with another case."

"the highest incidence of disease, strongly related to attendance at... clinics at the hospital where they received injections. The overall secondary attack rate was about 5%"

Short version: People were infected with the ORIGINAL 1976 Ebola strain by injection.

So the story is, one guy 'had Ebola', and they reused the needle from him on multiple other patients. Or, Ebola was straight injected into these people, and the dirty needle story serves as an alibi for bioweapons testing.

Seeing Red's picture

Interesting -- dirty needle reuse suggests "serial passage" was in play.  HIV evolved from SIV this way, but I didn't realize (an)other super-bug(s) had potentially been "created" accidentally by the same mechanism.  Wonderful ....

Rusty Shorts's picture


O/T but a little history about Liberia (Liberty)



By Gary Brecher

FRESNO - I've written a little about some of the great military figures Liberia has given the world, like General Butt Naked and his platinum-blonde drag queen psycho killers. But I've never told the hilarious, totally sick story of how Liberia got the way it is. And it's too interesting to hold back any longer.

Liberian history is supposedly "tragic," which is newspaper code for "funny as Hell." I can't help it, it is. It's not like I don't sympathize. I do. I mean, which slum did your grandparents come from? Probably some starved village where the coal mine's been closed since it ate a whole shift of locals. How'd you like it if everybody in your neighborhood took up a collection to send you back there, even if you didn't speak a word of the language? "We feel you don't fit in in Santa Barbara and you'll never be truly happy until you're back in Lower Slobovia:"

That's how Liberia started. It was white people's idea from the start. They were worried about free blacks, who made up about a tenth of the 2 million black people in the US. The two extremes of the slavery issue, abolitionists and crazy slaveowners, agreed something had to be done about all those free blacks.

The abolitionists loved black people so much they wanted them to go far, far away. So did the slaveowners, who announced with no evidence at all that free blacks were "promoters of mischief." (I don't know what "mischief" means--maybe they TP'd those Gone With the Wind plantation houses.)

A group of rich white do-gooders including Francis Scott Key, who wrote "the Star Spangled Banner," got together to raise the money to send free blacks back to Africa. For them Key had a special version of the anthem: "Oh say can you see/the home of the brave? If so, you're standing too close/Go about 4000 miles southeast, to West Africaaaa."

Congress came through with a big grant and in 1819, a ship with 88 freed blacks and three white chaperons landed in that other success-story for re-planting blacks, Sierra Leone. After gassing up at Freetown, they headed down the coast to the promised land, Liberia.

Within three weeks of arriving at their new home, all three whites and 22 blacks died of fever. That's barely time to start naming things "free-" this and "free-that.

Instead they named the place "Perseverance." A little truth in advertising. The rich whites sitting home safe in the US were determined to persevere in Liberia, even if it meant shipping every black they could catch straight into the most disease-ridden, lethal climate in the world. They worked a deal with the US Navy that any slave ships intercepted on the high seas would be detoured to Liberia an dump their cargo there, which meant that no matter how many colonists died, more were always on the way.

It was like a do-gooder version of Darwin, only sped up. Most of the newcomers died so fast they barely had time to thank their benefactors, but a few survived. And they were the ones who married and had kids, so eventually you got a population that had some degree of resistance to all the tropical diseases.

Once they realized they weren't all going to die in the next week, the settlers went to work on the most fundamental thing in any society: setting up cliques. There were three big ones in Liberia: the freed slaves who were "black"; the ones who were "mulatto"; and way back there in the bush, the natives. Naturally, none of these cliques liked each other.

The next step, naturally, was sucking up to the people who abused you. Is this starting to remind you of high school? That's because high school is a totally typical example of how people act when they have to start a society from scratch.

So instead of making peace with the natives, the Liberians spent the 1840s trying to get officially recognized by the whites. The funny bit is that the European states didn't have too much problem granting it, but the US--the country that started Liberia with a huge grant from Congress--refused to recognize Liberia until 1862. Guess why. Yup: because the South might object to having a black ambassador in Washington D.C.

It makes you wonder how they finally agreed to recognize Liberia. I mean, it's 1862, the Confederacy's at war with the US, and some bureaucrat's still sweating over the decision: "Well, Mr. Lincoln, our focus groups show there might be a negative reaction in some of the border districts:"

By this time Liberia was a full-grown country, doing what West African coastal enclaves are supposed to do: getting ripped off in "development" loans from the West, having ridiculous border disputes over some fever-ridden chunk of bush, and making the inland natives feel like dirt. British banks ripped the Liberians off so badly that one Liberian president--"the Liberian Lincoln," no less--had to swim for his life, and ended up as shark food before he made it to a British ship in the harbor of Monrovia, the new Liberian capital city.

Monrovia was named after James Monroe, who was one of the supporters of the Liberian colonization plan. His famous comment on Liberia was, "Love you guys, wish you could stay longer, here's your hat."

My favorite border dispute was between Liberia and that other outpost of freedom, Sierra Leone. In 1883, Sierra Leone claimed territory that Liberia held. The British backed up the Sierra Leoneans; Uncle Sam decided to stay out of it, and the Liberians had to back down. Next it was the French, in the Ivory Coast next door, grabbing another chunk of territory. Through it all Uncle Sam kept his distance from his black nephews in Liberia. It was like he was a little embarrassed by them.

One reason the US might've been embarrassed by the Liberians is that they kept trying to look white. And they succeeded. Take a look at the pictures of Liberian leaders from the 1800s and they look like Confederate generals with a tan--a lot of white blood in there. The Liberians were proud of that; the US wasn't.

These "Americo-Liberians" were never more than five percent of the population, but they ran the coast, had the money, understood more about the outside world--so they considered themselves the elite. They felt even whiter when they compared themselves with the natives, who were pure West African--some of the darkest people in the world. To remind everybody of the difference, the settlers called themselves "Americo-Liberians" and put on a lot of airs, with stiff collars and muttonchop sideburns--not to mention that other mark of higher civilization, land grabs.

Nobody was really sure how far inland Liberia's borders went. Basically, it was as much as they wanted or could grab. Nobody worried much about the natives; they were black and uncivilized. The Americo-Liberians were as racist as the slaveowners their ancestors had crossed the ocean to get away from. They sent their kids to school in the US to make sure they didn't get too African, and didn't even try to find out who lived in the jungle they'd claimed until the 1860s.

By the 1890s, you had the ultimate in, uh, black comedy: Liberian gunboats sailing upriver to bombard savage native tribes who were resisting civilization. In fact, they were resisting it too well: when the Americo-Liberian army marched inland to teach the Gola tribe a lesson, they got their cafe-au-lait asses kicked.

Liberian military history recovered its former glory in 1917, when Liberia formally joined the Allies against the Germans. There was panic among the General Staff in Berlin when the news arrived. But there was rejoicing in Monrovia, because it meant all German assets in Liberia could be seized and handed out to deserving Americo-Liberian pals.

But then unrest flared up inland, in darkest Liberia. The Americo-Liberian government sent a party to investigate. It turned out the tribes back there had heard a rumor that slavery was going to be abolished, and were outraged. The government explained it was just PR, a decree to impress the foreigners. But the natives were still restless, so the government had to send a big force to convince the Kru, the biggest tribe, to be peaceful by sacking their towns and killing off their warriors.

World War II was Liberia's golden age--by Liberian standards, that is. Once again the country took its stand for liberty, enlisting on the Allied side. But this time that actually meant something, because while WW I was basically a European war, WW II really was a worldwide deal. So the US set up some bases on the Liberian coast, with plenty of trickle-down for the locals. All kinds of fancy Western ideas started percolating through Monrovia. Women got the vote and in the early Sixties the Peace Corps did some of its earliest do-gooding in Liberia.

What did those kids actually do in the Corps, anyway? As far as I know, they just hugged a lot of dark-skinned people and meant well. It's kind of fun to think of these white American hippies' welcoming party in Monrovia, with all the snooty mulattoes in town sipping cocktails and warning them about those terribly, terribly primitive blacks one meets inland.

Liberia's biggest break ever came when some genius realized that since Liberia was officially a country--recognized since 1862, remember!--it had the right to sell ship registrations. Which it started doing, cut-rate, to every tramp steamer that didn't want to bother with lifeboats or safety inspections.

Which is why, every time an oil tanker goes aground while the captain was dead drunk, or comes apart mid-ocean, the papers call it "a Liberian-registered vessel." Your assurance of quality on the high seas.

That one's still a big money-spinner for Liberia. Actually Liberia was doing OK, by African standards, right up to the 70s. They'd had the same president from 1944 to 1971, an upstanding old guy with the great name of William Vacanarach Shadrach Tubman. With his suit and horn-rimmed glasses, he looks a little like Papa Doc Duvalier, the scary little dude who ruled Hatii at about the same time. But Tubman was a much more peaceful guy, who actually tried to include the inland tribes in the party. Investment picked up, schools got built, peace almost looked ready to break out. Almost.

Urban Redneck's picture

Few people know how to read even history, even fewer know how to write history so that others can begin to understand it.

Alea Iactaest's picture

Why is this "article" even published? It looks like the WHO has completely thrown in with the propogandists. There is no new information in this article. Besides the usual "cui bono?" we should be asking "why?" and particularly "why now?".

UGrev's picture

Why now? yes.. this is a great question. Even better would be "When did they know that it was going to get this bad? " So in effect, "now" was actually 6 -10 months ago. We are never told the truth about "now". They always buffer that time to see how well they can plan for the fallout. 

Leopold B. Scotch's picture

Why children?  A suicide bomber mentality is all you need: infect yourself and then get very public with your body excretions all over the place as soon as the symptoms start.

If a quick split-second suicide bomb blast gets you 80 virgins in the afterlife, what glories might a  miserable 2-week hemoragic fever sacrifice bring you?  Peace Be Unto Him, baby!

TerminalDebt's picture

damn inflation, it was 11 virgins, now it's gone up to 80 already. The only way to stop this is to reduce the number of virgins available

Paveway IV's picture

He may have known about ebola experiments, but Glenn Thomas was hardly an ebola 'expert'. He was former BBC reporter working as the media officer of WHO - he was their PR guy. That would probably make him an expert at lying about ebola experiments, I guess.

A person could just interview the staff of the Kenama facility to find out what they were really doing there, but most of them are already dead... from ebola

The most obvious tell that some of the West African outbreaks were engineered: the consistent levels of mortality are different in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

The Guinea outbreak started in mid-March. It was spreading slowly but at a consistent, almost linear rate. Guinea also has the highest mortality: just under 70%. That was the observed mortality rate for previous strains of Zaire ebola.

The Kenema research lab was in Sierra Leone. That country's outbreak started a few months later in June. The mortality rate has been around 40% - the speculated 'less lethal' rate of weaponized ebola strains. The lower lethality in weaponized strains are more than offset by the contagion effect of either a longer incubation period or the ability to spread to some degree through the air. Despite the Sierra Leone outbreak of only three months vs. the Guinea outbreak of five-and-a-half months, the number of reported deaths is almost the same (400).  

The Liberian outbreak started a month after Sierra Leone and is less than two months old. The mortality rate is higher than Sierra Leone - closer to 60%. Maybe a new and improved ver. 2 of the Sierra Leone strain? In any case, Liberia has had more reported deaths in under two months - 624 - than each of the entire Sierra Leone or Guinea outbreaks.

Of course, this may just be due to reporting differences. Or maybe the weather. The Government® claims they're all the same non-airborne strain.

Two million muslims will be heading to Mecca for hajj this October. History will look back on this and see that Adolph Eichmann was a rank amateur compared to the current psychopaths and their dual-citizen enablers.

mjcOH1's picture

"Why children?  A suicide bomber mentality is all you need: infect yourself and then get very public with your body excretions all over the place as soon as the symptoms start.

If a quick split-second suicide bomb blast gets you 80 virgins in the afterlife, what glories might a  miserable 2-week hemoragic fever sacrifice bring you?  Peace Be Unto Him, baby!"


Hey .... best of both worlds.   Wait until the fever kicks in, and then pop themselves like big virus filled ticks with the exploding vest....

Svener's picture

Well 75% of the deaths are women, they are the caregivers.

clade7's picture

There goes the pimping business eh, Butters?

+100 for 'Leopold Stotch'

UGrev's picture

Why children?  what better way to infect than to have something that continually "explodes" everytime you come in contact with it and people think it's so adorable, and innocent that they want to actually get close enough to it in order to parcipate in the cute and cuddly bomb..  

kchrisc's picture

"You don't suppose ISIS would think about crossing ebola laden children accross the southern border and then moving them to dots on the US map do you?"

CIA and/or Israel might.

Dance little Mossad, dance...


An American, not US subject.

CrimsonAvenger's picture

If it's airborne, the best way to avoid it is to stay in areas with wide open spaces and few people. Like a golf course.


TerminalDebt's picture

so a strip joint with my head between mounds is not recommended?

Pure Evil's picture

Only if you want to catch Herpes, which is more contagious than ebola, but doesn't leave you with blood leaking out of your asshole.

MalteseFalcon's picture

If it's airborne, I'd stay on an island that is easily sealed off.



BLOTTO's picture

'DO NOT touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola'


...Just in case you guys had a habit of touching dead bodies...that have Ebola...

ThroxxOfVron's picture

Yeah.  WTF?  Who doesn't know that you poke a dead body with a stick?

What is this a weekend at Bernie's sequel?