Sierra Leone declared a health emergency Thursday as the largest recorded outbreak of the Ebola virus continues its rage. As many as 729 deaths are believed to have been caused by the outbreak so far.
What makes matters worse is the lack of education about the virus.
CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus said many West African families are unknowingly putting themselves at grave risk when they bury family members who have died of Ebola.
"It's spread by bodily fluids, and by causing these bodily fluids to be out there, this virus can be spread very easily," Agus said. "There are cases where somebody has died and at the funeral, everybody goes and touches the body. Everybody who touched the body has died of Ebola."
Agus said part of the problem is that many people do not know that victims of the virus should stay isolated, even after they die.
"We need strong education here because this is a real serious outbreak that's going to cause more and more problems," he said.
But education is also a fraction of the issue. Agus said that African countries are simply not prepared to deal with such a breakout.
"On a health basis, it's backwards," Agus said. "The average spending per capita in these countries that are affected by Ebola is less than $20 per year. ... We need to change how we deal with these viruses at entry points and also on an international basis how we deal with health care."
For now, the virus is spreading beyond the remote villages where it usually turns up.
"It is the first time it's been in urban areas," Agus said. "And it's actually spread to multiple countries for the first time. So this is a different kind of outbreak. It cannot be contained in the small villages. This one is growing. It's scary."