"If we were to break the chain of Ebola transmission, it is crucial to combat the fear surrounding it and earn the trust of communities, the official added."
Geneva, July 11 - Widespread misconception, resistance, denial and occasional hostility in some communities were considerably complicating the humanitarian response to contain the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Unicef said Friday.
As the Ebola-related toll rises above 500 in West Africa, the UN agency and its partners were expanding their activities across the region to halt the spread of the disease by combating rumours, fears and misconceptions, Xinhua reported.
Rumours and denial were fueling the spread of Ebola and putting even more lives at risk, said Manuel Fontaine, Unicef's regional director for West and Central Africa.
He noted some people still deny that the disease was real and others believed that it did not require treatment.
More than 850 cases were reported by the WHO in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
This is first-ever Ebola outbreak in West Africa that has become a major regional threat, unprecedented in duration and in scale, Fontaine said.
The response goes beyond medical care, Fontaine said.
If we were to break the chain of Ebola transmission, it is crucial to combat the fear surrounding it and earn the trust of communities, the official added.
Unicef was stepping up its efforts across Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali and Gambia to prevent further spread of the virus, through mobile messaging and ongoing TV, radio and print mass traditional and non-traditional communication campaigns, Fontaine elaborated.