The United Nations held a press conference earlier today providing valuable updates about the current Ebola situation in West Africa while reiterating the need for more serious intervention and action to prevent further spread of the disease.

As of this morning 4985 cases of Ebola have been reported with 2461 deaths. 50% of these cases occurred during the last 21 days according to Dr. Bruce Aylward of the World Health Organization. Although not an official number it is estimated that 60-70% of the reported cases are female. Dr. Aylward attributed this to women being primary care givers in the home and at hospitals increasing their exposure to the virus.

Dr. David Nabarro indicated that at least one billion dollars would be required to fight the current outbreak, an increase of 10 times the estimated financial requirements from the beginning of September. He estimates that around 30% of the required amount is already available with many more donations and contributions expected in the coming weeks.

A “Global Ebola Response Coalition” was also announced with anticipated membership from all affected countries and other significant stakeholders but no confirmations are available at this time. When asked about the decision by President Obama of the United States to deploy military assistance the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos indicated that the intervention was requested by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

The panel was consistent in their message that drastic and precise action would be required to stop the spread of the deadly disease. Dr. Bruce Aylward was clear that intervention would need to be immediate if the outbreak is to be contained. The Doctor echoed the statements made around the lack of knowledge and experience with urban outbreaks commenting that “The outbreak is unparalleled in modern times”.

An official situation update including detailed figures per country is expected from the World Health Organization during the course of the day.