The Ebola outbreak is continuing to worsen in West Africa and the three worst-hit nations on the continent are ill equipped to stem the virus' spread, the World Health Organization, or WHO, said Wednesday. The deadly virus has so far infected 8,033 people and claimed the lives of 3,879.
The situation in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is not promising and there are no signs that the disease is being contained, the WHO said, adding that recent reports claiming that there has been a fall in the number of new cases in Liberia are "unlikely to be genuine” and are probably a result of overwhelmed health care officials failing to record data accurately.
"The situation in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone continues to deteriorate, with widespread and persistent transmission of Ebola," WHO said, in a statement. "There is no evidence that the EVD epidemic in West Africa is being brought under control."
However, there has been a decline in the number of cases in the districts of Lofa in Liberia, and Kailahun and Kenema in Sierra Leone, WHO said.
The news comes as the U.S. reported the death of its first Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, in Dallas. Duncan began showing symptoms of Ebola four days after arriving in the U.S. from Liberia -- the worst affected country with 2,210 deaths -- on Sept. 20.
WHO also said Wednesday that the number of beds currently available in Liberia and Sierra Leone, “still falls well short of the capacity required.”
The report stated that currently there are only 620 beds available for Ebola patients in Liberia, and the required number is about 2,930. Sierra Leone too is dealing with a similar situation where only 304 beds are available against the estimated need for about 1,148 beds.
The report also expressed concerns over the number of health workers being infected by the disease. WHO said that about 401 health care workers have so far been infected, of whom about 232 have died.
Meanwhile, the World Bank said Wednesday that the impact of Ebola for Africa could reach $32.6 billion by the end of 2015 if the disease spread to neighboring countries in West Africa.
"The enormous economic cost of the current outbreak to the affected countries and the world could have been avoided by prudent ongoing investment in health systems-strengthening," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement, according to Reuters.