Ebola ‘threatens’ W Africa harvests
The Ebola outbreak is putting food harvests in West Africa “at serious risk”, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warns.
It has raised a special alert for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three countries worst affected.
Rice and maize production will be particularly affected during the coming harvest season, says the FAO.
The food shortages are expected to worsen in the coming months.
The outbreak has killed at least 1,550 people since March – the worst Ebola outbreak in history.
The FAO has jointly approved an emergency programme with the UN’s World Food Programme to deliver 65,000 tonnes of food to the estimated 1.3 million people affected by Ebola over three months.
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
- Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
- Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
- Fatality rate can reach 90% – but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 55%
- Incubation period is two to 21 days
- There is no vaccine or cure
- Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
- Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus’s natural host
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