Ebola Death Toll Hits 7,000 -WHO
(Aljareera) – The death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak on record has reached nearly 7,000 in West Africa, the World Health Organisation said on Saturday.
The toll of 6,928 dead showed a leap of just over 1,200 since the WHO released its previous report on Wednesday, according to a Reuters news agency report.
The UN health agency did not provide any explanation for the abrupt increase, but the figures, published on its website, appeared to include previously unreported deaths.
A WHO spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
Just over 16,000 people have been diagnosed with Ebola since the outbreak was confirmed in the forests of remote southeastern Guinea in March, according to the WHO data that covered the three hardest-hit countries.
Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have accounted for all but 15 of the deaths in the outbreak, which has touched five other countries, according to the previous WHO figures.
In a separate development, Sierra Leone will soon see a dramatic increase in desperately-needed treatment beds, but it’s not clear who will staff them, a top UN official in the fight against the disease has said.
Sierra Leone is now bearing the brunt of the 8-month-old outbreak. In the other hard-hit countries, Liberia and Guinea, WHO says infection rates are stabilising or declining, but in Sierra Leone, they’re soaring. The country has been reporting around 400 to 500 new cases each week for several weeks.
Those cases are concentrated in the capital, Freetown, its surrounding areas and the northern Port Loko district, which together account for about 65 percent of the country’s new infections, Anthony Banbury, head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, said in an interview with the Associated Press news agency.