Fears Ebola will spread out of control

Ebola is believed to have infected 1,779 people, killing 961 from the start of the outbreak earlier this year.

A nurse wears protective clothing as he demonstrates the facilities in place at the Royal Free Hospital in north London on 6 August 2014, in preparation for a patient testing positive for the Ebola virus. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Global health experts say they fear the Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa will spread out of control.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are battling the Ebola virus which has also spread to Nigeria.

The virus is believed to have infected 1,779 people while killing 961 from the start of the outbreak earlier this year.

Chief medical practitioner at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Tom Frieden, says the virus can be contained.

"We can stop Ebola but it will be a long and hard fight and the situation in Lagos is concerning. We have to stop it at the source in Africa because that's the only way to get control of it."


The Texas doctor being treated for Ebola in Atlanta after getting evacuated from West Africa said in a statement on Friday he was "growing stronger every day."

Dr Kent Brantly, 33, said he had received the best possible care from Emory University Hospital infectious disease specialists, who also are treating his colleague, Nancy Writebol, for the deadly virus.

"I am writing this update from my isolation room and I thank God for his mercy as I have wrestled with this terrible disease." Brantly said.

The doctor arrived in Georgia by medical aircraft on Saturday, followed on Tuesday by Writebol, a 59-year-old missionary from Charlotte, North Carolina. They are believed to be the first Ebola patients ever treated in the United States.

The two relief workers, who served on a joint team in Liberia run by Christian aid groups SIM USA and Samaritan's Purse, contracted Ebola while helping to combat the world's worst outbreak of the virus.

Brantly said he did not move with his wife and two children to Liberia for the specific purpose of fighting Ebola but, as the disease spread, he found himself holding the hands of many people who succumbed to it.

"I witnessed the horror first-hand, and I can still remember every face and name," he said.

Brantly said he isolated himself as soon as he began feeling ill and waited three days for a confirmed diagnosis.

Writebol's husband, David, told the Charlotte Observer on Friday that his wife remains very weak. Because he had contact with her after she became infected, he has waited in Liberia for the 21-day incubation period to run out before he flies home.

"I'm told that she's making progress, I think it's still too early to tell how things are going to go." David said.

Separately on Friday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that a Toronto-area hospital was treating a patient with a fever and flu-like symptoms who recently visited Nigeria. It said the patient had been isolated as a precautionary measure.