CDC director: Ebola remains virulent in parts of Africa

Dr. Tom Frieden, right, speaks with Yusif Koroma, an Ebola survivor who is now caring for orphans at a nearby social services center in Sierra Leone. | Courtesy of the CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden said Monday that there is still work to be done to fight the Ebola virus, a day after he returned from his second visit to three affected countries in Africa.

Frieden visited Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where he met with about 170 CDC staff working in the countries fighting the virus. He also met with patients and staff, and with the countries' presidents and health ministers.

“It is inspiring to see how much better the response has become in the past two months, how much international commitment there is, and, most importantly, how hard people from each of the three countries are working to stop Ebola,” Frieden said. “But it is sobering that Ebola continues to spread rapidly in Sierra Leone and that in parts of Monrovia and Conakry (Guinea's capital), Ebola is spreading unabated. Improvements in contact tracing are urgently needed.”

Frieden said the outbreak has slowed down significantly in Liberia, and he said the country had “an upper hand against the virus” due to improved access to treatment centers, community engagement and safer burials.

“But the outbreak continues to surge in Sierra Leone, and there has been a troubling spread in (Conakry),” Frieden said. “We’ve got a long way to go, and this is no time to relax our grip on the response.”

Frieden said health workers are committed to fighting and eliminating the virus from West Africa, and said defeating the disease in those countries was key to protecting Americans.

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