World Health Organization's Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward holds a report on Ebola virus during a press conference on global aid pledged to fight the Ebola outbreak in west Africa
FABRICE COFFRINI—AFP/Getty Images
By Laura Stampler
September 16, 2014

The World Health Organization needs at least $1 billion to keep the number of cases in West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak within the “tens of thousands,” United Nations officials said at a Tuesday news conference in Geneva.

Thus far, there have been 4,985 cases of Ebola, while 2,461 have died of the disease.

“The numbers can be kept in the tens of thousands,” WHO Assistant Director Bruce Aylward said during the conference. “But that is going to require a much faster escalation of the response if we are to beat the escalation of the virus.”

And the figure could increase given the escalating nature of the outbreak.

“The amount for which we requested was about $100 million a month ago and now it is $1 billion, so our ask has gone up 10 times in a month,” said Dr. David Nabarro, senior U.N. coordinator for Ebola. “Because of the way the outbreak is advancing, the level of surge we need to do is unprecedented, it is massive.”

The United States announced its own plans Tuesday to send 3,000 troops to West Africa to help build treatment clinics and train health workers to fight the disease.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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