Via NBC News, a report by Maggie Fox: Ebola Outbreak 'Tip of the Iceberg,' Experts Say. Click through for the full report and a video. Excerpt:
An "out of control" outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that’s being called the deadliest ever is far from over and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better, experts predict.
And health workers who have been fighting the outbreak, which spans three countries and has killed more than 300 people, say they are certain many cases are going unreported as they see gruesome infections, dangerous myths and people fleeing the virus, potentially spreading it further.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Robert Garry, a microbiology professor at the Tulane University School of Medicine who’s been leading relief and investigation efforts in Sierra Leone for the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium.
Dr. Mwayabo Kazadi, from the health unit for Catholic Relief Services, agreed that many cases could go uncounted and undiagnosed in the region, where Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia come together.
“When you don’t have a proper health system in place, it is pretty difficult,” Kazadi said.
Garry says team members arrived in at least one village to find it deserted, and the body of an Ebola victim left unattended in a house. It’s not hard to imagine what happened, but it makes it impossible to track down people who might have been infected and get them to hospitals for what care can be provided, and to prevent them from infecting others.
A Doctors Without Borders official said Friday that the outbreak was out of control.
And the numbers make it clear this is the biggest outbreak yet of Ebola since the virus was first identified in 1976. The virus, which causes a particularly nasty form of hemorrhagic fever, has killed 337 people out of 528 infected.
“This is the biggest outbreak we have ever actually seen of Ebola,” Kazadi said. “It’s the biggest both in numbers and in terms of geography,” Garry agreed.