The Head of the World Health Organization and presidents of the West African countries suffering the World’s worst-ever Ebola outbreak will meet in Guinea on Friday to launch a $100 million (75 million euros) emergency joint response plan, WHO said. “The scale of the Ebola outbreak, and the persistent threat it poses” requires WHO, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone “to take the response to a new level,” WHO Director General, Margaret Chan, said in a statement. WHO said “several hundred” medical personnel need to be deployed to the affected countries to help overstretched workers and facilities struggling with the epidemic, which has claimed nearly 730 lives. Those most “urgently” needed are “clinical doctors and nurses, epidemiologists, social mobilisation experts, logisticians and data managers,” it said.

The Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Response Plan in West Africa aims to plug those gaps “as part of an intensified international, regional and national campaign to bring the outbreak under control”. The plan will also bolster efforts to prevent and detect suspected cases, urge better border surveillance, and reinforce WHO’s sub-regional outbreak coordination centre in Guinea. WHO reiterated its estimate from earlier Thursday that 729 people have died from Ebola so far in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria since the outbreak started early this year, with a total of 1,323 infections reported. Ebola, which causes severe muscular pains, fever, headaches and, in the worst cases, unstoppable bleeding, can be caught through contact with bodily fluids. The strain behind the latest outbreak has so far proved fatal in around 55 percent of cases.

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