MONROVIA, Liberia, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Ebola victims spread the virus because they tend to die at home, infecting family members, instead of in treatment facilities, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The lack of treatment centers, which isolate Ebola victims, is a major cause of the spread of the illness in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The CDC said only 18 percent of Liberian Ebola patients are cared for in treatment centers; the rest suffer and die at home. Unless the rate reaches 70 percent, the virus will continue speeding, it said.
The information comes after a worst-case estimate, earlier this week, predicted Liberia and Sierra Leone could face 1.4 million Ebola infections, affecting 10 percent of their populations, by Jan. 20.
Building additional centers will take weeks, and the ineffective health care systems in the West African countries have discouraged many international aid workers from coming to help.
"I've worked in many crises for more than 20 years, and it's the first time I can see a situation that nobody wants to come," said Jean-Pierre Veyrenche, of the World Health Organization "There's plenty of money, so that's not the issue. People are afraid to come; that's it."
In the Liberian capital of Monrovia, treatment centers are overflowing, and six teams of body collectors traverse the city, each team retrieving up to two dozen bodies per day from the streets, which are brought to a crematorium.
A member of the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization, Alexis Bonte, noted Liberians are "terrified at how fast the disease is spreading," noting that "neighbors, friends and family members are dying within just a few days of exhibiting shocking symptoms."