Ebola situation still 'extremely alarming': World Health Organisation

GENEVA (AFP, Reuters) - The Ebola situation was still "extremely alarming" despite a significant fall in new cases in west Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Friday.

The UN agency said the progress made so far could be rapidly undone if a funding gap remained. WHO assistant director-general in charge of the Ebola response, Dr Bruce Aylward, told a news briefing in Geneva on Friday: "It's still an incredibly dangerous situation" and "extremely alarming."

Progress in halting the spread of Ebola in West Africa will depend on mobilising funding and aid workers before the rainy season hits in April-May, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) is set to run out of cash in mid-February, Aylward said.

The number of Ebola cases week-on-week has declined for each of the past four weeks in hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which is promising, said Aylward .

"We run out of cash in mid-February, that is four or five months before that virus is going to stop in a best case scenario," Aylward said.

The UN health agency still needs US$260 million (S$325 million) for its US$350 million budget for Ebola for the next six months, he said. "If you go into wet season with this disease you are looking at another hard year or plus," he added.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.