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Ebola rages through West Africa, with no signs of stopping

CBS News partner network Sky News visits a field clinic in Liberia, on the front line of the battle to control a raging outbreak of the killer virus Ebola
Face to face with deadliest Ebola outbreak ever 05:24

As the Ebola epidemic continues to grow in West Africa -- a result of insufficient borders between Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone -- health officials in the region are struggling to find ways to contain the outbreak.

A river separates Liberia from Guinea, where the latest outbreak first started. But country borders in this region are virtually nonexistent, the main reason why Ebola continues to spread like wild fire.

The World Health Organization reported this week that Ebola has so far killed 467 people out of 759 known cases in these three countries. Early last week the organization estimated the death toll to be 399 out of 635 cases. This sharp rise in incidences and death rates has promoted a swift response by public health officials.

WHO said meetings will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, which will be attended by officials, Ebola survivors, representatives of airlines and mining companies, and the donor communities from 11 countries in the region, as well as members of United Nations, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies.

Philip Azumah, Foya, Liberia's district health officer told Sky News that the outbreak will continue if the town does not receive more help from outside the country. Azumah showed Sky News reporter Alex Crawford the many precautions he and his fellow workers must take, which includes wearing head-to-toe protective gear when tending to patients.

"I'm only scared when I go into a high risk area," he told Crawford. "Yeah, when we go into a high risk area, we have to dress fully protected."

A nurse in the high-risk ward at Foya caught the virus from a patient she didn't know was infected. She's bleeding profusely. She told Sky News she feels too weak to even talk and colleagues are staying away from her for fear that they will contract the illness.

Ebola outbreak strikes West Africa 02:12

She knows that the chance of surviving the infection is only about 10 percent. By the time you're taken to the ward you already know you're going to die. There is no vaccine currently available for Ebola.

Azumah says the virus is spreading, in part, because many victims choose to hide away in their homes when symptoms develop. They prefer to die in secret rather than become outcasts in their community. This problem has become so prevalent that Liberian government officials announced this week that they will prosecute anyone involved in efforts to hide Ebola victims.

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