UN hopes to contain Ebola by mid-2015

The leader of the United Nations is hopeful the Ebola outbreak could be contained by “the middle of next year,” as the spread of the disease continues to slow.

“Overall, we see that we are now able to see that our efforts are making differences,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a press conference Friday after meeting with dozens of top agency officials.

ADVERTISEMENT

The U.N. chief’s remarks were surprisingly optimistic, after he warned just two weeks ago that the outbreak was “entering a new phase” and the fight against it was far from over.

While he said the drop in new cases has been “quite encouraging,” he said more resources were still needed. He called for a fivefold increase in international support — particularly healthcare workers who are trained to fight the disease.

Dr. Margaret Chan, who leads the World Health Organization, the U.N.’s health agency, agreed that she has seen “some early signals of hope.”

“We have been successful in bending the curve a bit, but we need to continue to do more to get to zero,” she said.

Both officials participated in a meeting Friday that included top-level leadership of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.

The meeting came just after the number of Ebola infections surpassed 15,000 for the first time. Out of those, nearly 5,500 people have died.

U.S. officials also offered a rare scrap of good news this week, as they push for Congress to approve a massive $6.12 billion emergency funding package.

Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the world will not see the worst-case scenario on Ebola that he predicted earlier this summer, which forecast as many as 1.4 million people being infected by early 2015.

He also said Liberia is no longer seeing “exponential growth” of the disease, where it had been previously spreading the fastest.