The Ebola virus that has killed thousands in West Africa is still “running ahead” of efforts to contain it, the head of the World Health Organization has said.
Director general Margaret Chan said the situation had improved in some parts of the worst-affected countries, but she warned against complacency.
The risk to the world “is always there” while the outbreak continues, she said.
She said the WHO and the international community failed to act quickly enough.
The death toll in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone stands at 6,331. More than 17,800 people have been infected, according to the WHO.
“In Liberia we are beginning to see some good progress, especially in Lofa county [close to where the outbreak first started] and the capital,” said Dr Chan.
Cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone were “less severe” than a couple of months ago, but she said “we are still seeing large numbers of cases”.
‘Hunting the virus’
Dr Chan said: “It’s not as bad as it was in September. But going forward we are now hunting the virus, chasing after the virus. Hopefully we can bring [the number of cases] down to zero.”
The official figures do not show the entire picture of the outbreak. In August, the WHO said the numbers were “vastly under-estimated”, due to people not reporting illnesses and deaths from Ebola.