GENEVA, Switzerland – More than 4,500 people have died in the deadly Ebola outbreak that began in west Africa at the beginning of the year, fresh World Health Organization figures showed Friday, October 17.
The UN health agency said that 4,555 people had died from Ebola out of a total of 9,216 cases registered in 7 countries, as of October 14.
A toll dated just two days earlier had put the death toll at 4,493 out of 8,997 cases.
Friday’s announcement came as Western countries scramble to ward off a feared global spread of Ebola – one of the deadliest viruses known to man. (READ: ‘Ebola to leave generation of distressed kids’)
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The WHO splits the 7 affected countries into two groups.
The first is comprised of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – by far the worst affected nations.
Liberia is the worst-hit of all, with 4,262 cases and 2,484 deaths, as of October 13.
Sierra Leone meanwhile counted 3,410 cases as of October 14, 1,200 of whom had died.
Guinea, where the epidemic originated in December, had seen 1,519 cases and 862 deaths as of October 14.
The second group counts countries with far fewer cases, including Senegal, which was declared Ebola-free by the WHO Friday.
That declaration could be made after the benchmark of 42 days passed without any new cases since Senegal’s single, non-fatal Ebola case in August.
The second group also counts Nigeria, which has seen 20 cases, including 8 deaths, and which looks set to be declared Ebola-free next Monday, October 20.
In addition now, the second group includes Spain, where a nurse has been confirmed to have contracted the disease from a missionary she cared for and who died from Ebola after returning from Liberia.
And it counts the United States, where two nurses have fallen ill after caring for a Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, who died on October 8 after becoming the first Ebola case diagnosed in the country.
Health workers continue to pay a heavy price for their efforts with 239 deaths out of 423 cases across the countries. (READ: Ban Ki-Moon: Time for ‘other countries’ to fight Ebola)
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, hit by a separate strain of Ebola from the one raging in west Africa, the WHO said there have been 68 cases and 49 deaths up to October 9. – Rappler.com