WHO reduces Ebola death toll in Sierra Leone

by Paul Schemm

The World Health Organization on Wednesday announced it was changing the way it reports fatalities from the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone at the request of the government.

Previously, probable and suspected deaths from Ebola were included in the count but from now on, only laboratory confirmed cases will be reported, reducing the in Sierra Leone from 58 to 34 as of Tuesday.

The way the deaths are reported in Guinea and Liberia, the other two countries hit by the outbreak, will remain unchanged, said WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib.

"They haven't asked to change their methodology, the only country that decided to change their methodology was Sierra Leone for now," said Chaib.

Sierra Leone's press had criticized the government for reporting lower death rates than the WHO had initially been reporting.

The change in approach by WHO now brings their figures into line with those of Sierra Leone government.

International organizations have dubbed this the worst Ebola epidemic ever with 599 cases and 338 fatalities in dozens of different sites across the three countries, not only in , but near .

On Tuesday, the European Commission announced it was committing an additional 500,000 euros in funding to combat the outbreak, bringing its total contribution to 1.9 million euros.

Doctors Without Borders has described the outbreak as "out of control" and said with cases in more than 60 sites, its resources are stretched to the limit.

Ebola has no cure and causes internal bleeding and organ failure, spreading through direct contact with infected people, including during funeral preparations of the victims. More than half of all cases result in death.

Medical facilities in these countries, some of the poorest in the world, are struggling to deal with the outbreak as well as educate populations unfamiliar with how to prevent the disease from spreading.

The current outbreak, which began in Guinea either late last year or early this year, had appeared to slow before picking up pace again in recent weeks, spreading to the capital of neighboring Liberia for the first time.

Related Stories

Ebola cases rise in Africa as doctors sound alarm

date Jun 23, 2014

The international medical organization Doctors Without Borders sounded the alarm Monday over the outbreak of the Ebola disease in West Africa as some 20 new deaths have been reported.

Sierra Leone declares Ebola emergency in district

date Jun 12, 2014

The Sierra Leone government announced a state of emergency in the Kailahun district from the outbreak of the Ebola virus which has claimed 17 lives in this West African nation, banning public gatherings and closing schools.

Recommended for you

First-ever possible treatments for MERS

date 3 hours ago

As the South Korean epidemic of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) continues unabated, researchers have raced to find treatments for the deadly virus, which has killed more than 400 people since it was ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.