Death Toll from Ebola Virus Nears 7,000; Number of People Infected Above 16,000

 A child suffering from the Ebola virus receives treatment in Makeni, Sierra Leone. (Tanya Bindra/AP)
A child suffering from the Ebola virus receives treatment in Makeni, Sierra Leone. (Tanya Bindra/AP)

The number of people with Ebola in west Africa has risen above 16,000, with the death toll from the outbreak reaching almost 7,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.

The number of deaths is more than 1,000 higher than the figure issued by the WHO just two days ago, but it is thought to include deaths that have gone unreported in the weeks or months since the outbreak began. Most of the new deaths were recorded in Liberia.

The WHO has warned that its figures could be a significant underestimation of the number of infections and deaths. Data from the outbreak has been patchy and the totals often rise considerably when backlogs of information are cleared. The latest confirmed data shows that almost half those known to have been infected with Ebola have died.

Meanwhile, two children tested for Ebola after arriving in Britain from Africa are not infected, Public Health England confirmed on Saturday. It said the overall risk to the public of the virus continued to be “very low”.

The children, whose ages and names have not been released, underwent precautionary tests in Newcastle for both the virus and malaria.

The outbreak has been centred on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. They account for the vast majority of the cases reported to date, with about three dozen cases elsewhere.

Liberia has recorded the highest number of cases and deaths, but the rate of infection is slowing there. The disease is now spreading fastest in Sierra Leone.

Mali has started recording infections after sick people crossed over from neighbouring Guinea. It has reported two new cases this week.

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SOURCE: The Guardian
Chris Johnston

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