Juliette Mullin, Senior Editor
News of another U.S. Ebola case—this time in New York City—broke on Thursday night. And the case will likely spark a new wave of anxiety about the disease potentially spreading within the United States.
"Ebola right now can spread fear just by the sound of the word," New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said last night, adding, "I know it's a frightening situation. ... But the more facts you know the less frightening the situation is."
Any new U.S. case of Ebola is clearly concerning, especially given the events in Texas last week. But, as the World Health Organization (WHO) reminded us this week, Ebola is downright scary in West Africa.
Overseas, WHO says the outbreak is spreading faster than health workers are able to contain it. It has reached every district of Sierra Leone and all but one in Liberia.
The latest data from the group shows nearly 10,000 reported cases of the virus in Africa. And this week, Mali confirmed its first case of Ebola, making it the sixth West African nation to report a case. The Ebola patient is a young girl who had travelled from Guinea.
In a recent interview, NBC News freelancer and Ebola survivor Ashoka Mukpo called for more attention to the situation in West Africa. "That's where people's attention should be," he said, explaining that people infected with the disease in West Africa struggle to obtain the critical medical care that would help them survive.
In Liberia, which has had more than 4,500 cases and 2,700 deaths from Ebola, the outbreak has crippled the health care system, leaving even people without Ebola unable to find care.
Among other issues, the country does not have enough resources to tackle the disease. According to the Liberia health ministry, the country will need 1,155,060 hooded overall protective suits to treat future Ebola victims, but it only has 165,075. Similarly, Liberia needs:
- 146,000 plastic buckets, but only has 5,587;
- 566,736 googles, but only has 57,457; and
- 2.38 million boxes of examination gloves, but only has 17,729.
The lack of resources puts both patients and health workers at risk. Nearly 450 health care workers have contracted Ebola this year.