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Only the Beginning: 20K More Ebola Cases Expected


The Ebola epidemic has already killed more than 2,000 people in West Africa, making it the biggest outbreak ever, and the World Health Organization warns it's only the beginning.

WHO is predicting thousands of new cases in the coming weeks. In a report issued Monday, the organization predicted the outbreak will take six to nine months to contain and may infect up to 20,000 people.

"The longer the current outbreak goes on it's really meant that we will continue to see additional spread worldwide," Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said.
The Pentagon is sending a 25-bed field hospital to Liberia to help treat health workers who have contracted Ebola. The WHO is asking governments to triple current aid efforts to battle the explosive outbreak.

The news comes as a fourth American Ebola patient arrived Tuesday at Emory University Hospital for treatment. No additional details have been released.

Meanwhile in Nebraska, Dr. Rick Sacra, the third American missionary to be infected with the Ebola virus, remains in stable condition. 

Doctors there say they're comparing notes with Emory Hospital in Atlanta, which already treated two Americans with Ebola.

"It's virtually the same strain. I've been on the phone to Emory people every day," Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the Omaha unit, said.

Federal officials say they sent Sacra to Omaha instead of Atlanta to prepare other isolation units in the United States to take more Ebola patients if needed.

The virus has now spread to five countries in West Africa. Governments are doing everything they can to contain the disease, from imposing night-time curfews to ordering multi-day countrywide lockdowns.

Non-profits are also stepping up efforts. 

Operation Blessing's David Darg told CBN News Reporter Mark Martin that churches in Liberia are working to encourage prevention.

"We have Ebola prevention teams - church volunteers that are going out into the communities - warning people of the signs, telling people what to do if they have symptoms," Darg said.

Authorities are most concerned right now about Liberia. It's the country worst hit by the virus and suffers from a shortage of doctors.

Since the outbreak began, it's lost more than 70 healthcare workers to the deadly virus. 

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