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Zimbabwe, Malawi Lead Regional Efforts to Curb Ebola

Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) medical workers deliver food to patients kept in an isolation area at their Ebola treatment center in Kailahun on July 20.

Zimbabwe and Malawi are combining forces to lead a regional drive to combat the spread of the deadly ebola virus.

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told VOA Zimbabwe, as the incoming Southern African Development Community (SADC), is working with outgoing chair, Malawi, to ensure the ebola outbreak does not affect the region.

Parirenyatwa said the region is on high alert with health ministers in constant communication over the outbreak that is fast spreading following the first case discovered in Guinea in March.

The ebola outbreak is the largest in history with more than 730 deaths blamed on the disease in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

Medical experts say there is no vaccine to prevent the illness, and no specific treatment for it. Victims are nursed through the worst of fevers, bleeding and other symptoms.

The only way to stop an outbreak is to isolate infected patients, trace all their contacts, isolate the ones who get sick and repeat the process until, finally, there are no more cases.

Dr. Parirenyatwa says SADC health ministers will be meeting soon to discuss the outbreak, adding experts from the region are already helping out in afflicted West Africa.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization and West African leaders have agreed to launch a $100 million emergency response to the deadly outbreak.
They assembled in guinea's capital, Conakry, Friday to discuss the plan.