The U.S. military has warned of a “war crime” if a virus outbreak breaks out in Liberia and Sierra Leone and the government fails to contain it.
In a report released on Monday, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that an outbreak of the highly contagious Ebola virus in two nations could spark “a war crime” in the region.
The report said the virus spread through air travel and the food supply, which could lead to widespread shortages.
The outbreak, which has killed more than 11,000 people, has killed nearly 1.7 million, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The United States, with more than 40,000 troops and more than 8,000 medical personnel, is sending troops to the region to provide medical care and other assistance.
But the WHO said that if the outbreak spreads beyond the two countries, it would be “inhumane” for the government to try to contain the virus.
The U.K.-based agency said the two nations should be held to a higher standard and said they were “likely to face a humanitarian crisis” if the virus outbreak spread to Liberia and South Africa.
The United Nations warned last week that there was “high likelihood” that the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia was the “most severe case of the disease” to have hit the region since World War II.
“This outbreak is likely to be the most severe case in the history of the epidemic,” the U