CONAKRY — The United Nations' new pointman on Ebola said on Friday he was preparing for a possible flareup of the epidemic in West Africa.
"We're either close to a plateau, but then we'll drop, or we're in a phase, an inflection point, where it is going to increase, and I absolutely cannot tell," David Nabarro said during a stopover at Conakry airport en route to Monrovia. He was determined to "ensure that every piece of our apparatus is at its optimum so it could deal possibly with a flareup if that's necessary."
David, a British physician who the United Nations appointed last week to coordinate the global response to the crisis, arrived in west Africa on a mission to revitalise the health sectors of affected countries.
"We're either close to a plateau, but then we'll drop, or we're in a phase – an inflexion point – where it is going to increase, and I absolutely cannot tell," Nabarro said during a stopover at Conakry airport en route to the Liberian capital Monrovia.
He said he was determined to "ensure that every piece of our apparatus is at its optimum so it could deal possibly with a flare-up if that's necessary."
Nabarro is also due to visit Freetown, Sierra Leone; Conakry, Guinea; and Abuja, Nigeria during the trip and then travel to Geneva and New York, headquarters of the World Health Organisation and the UN respectively, to report on his findings. Authorities have been hampered in their fight against Ebola by the deaths of several top health officials and numerous frontline doctors to the virus.
However, two American missionaries who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia and were taken to the US for treatment, have left hospital after making a full recovery.
Kent Brantly, 33, and Nancy Writebol, 60, were given experimental drugs before being airlifted to a hospital in Atlanta where they were treated for the last three weeks.
"The discharge from the hospital of both these patients poses no public health threat," said Bruce Ribner, director of Emory Hospital's Infectious Disease Unit.
Meanwhile, Senegal has become the latest country to seal its border with a west African neighbour to ward off the deadly Ebola virus.
Senegal's decision to close its land border with Guinea, announced by the interior ministry on Thursday, is part of intensifying efforts to contain the outbreak that has killed 1,350 people since March in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. — AFP