Ebola death toll swells to 2,917 out of 6,263 cases: WHO
The world's worst-ever Ebola epidemic has now infected nearly 6,300 people in West Africa and killed nearly half of them, according to World Health Organization figures released Thursday.
In its latest update, the UN health agency said a total of 6,263 people had been infected across five west African countries—44 percent of them over the past three weeks—and that 2,917 had died.
Latest toll figures
Here are the latest WHO numbers, as of September 21:
In Guinea, where the outbreak began late last year, Ebola had as of September 21 infected 1,022 people, killing 635 of them.
Nearly a third of those cases surfaced in the three weeks leading up to September 21.
The situation in the country appears to have "stabilised", with between 82 and 102 confirmed and probable new cases reported each week for the past five weeks, WHO said.
In Liberia, which has been hit the hardest by the outbreak, 3,280 people had been infected with Ebola—more than half in the preceding three weeks—and 1,677 of them had died.
In Sierra Leone, Ebola had meanwhile infected 1,940 people and killed 593 of them. The three weeks since September 1 accounted for 38 percent of total infections.
The situation in the country "continues to deteriorate," WHO said, blaming especially a sharp increase in the number of new cases reported in Freetown.
New cases and deaths found during Sierra Leone's controversial three-day lockdown—around 300 according to local officials—had not yet been included in the WHO data, the agency said.
Nigeria had, as of September 21, recorded 20 cases, including eight deaths, since Ebola first arrived in the country with a Liberian finance ministry official, who died in Lagos on July 25.
The last case confirmed in the country was on September 5.
Senegal's only confirmed Ebola case—a Guinean student who crossed the border just before it was closed on August 21—has recovered, but the country will not be declared free of the virus until 42 days after the case was recorded.
Healthcare workers, already in very short supply in the impoverished countries hardest-hit by the outbreak, have paid an especially heavy price. As of September 21, 373 of them had been infected across four west African countries and 208 had died.
Guinea: 67 healthcare workers infected, 35 of whom have died.
Liberia: 182 healthcare workers infected, 87 of whom have died.
Sierra Leone: 113 healthcare workers infected, 81 of whom have died.
Nigeria: 11 healthcare workers infected, five of whom have died.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has meanwhile been hit by a separate Ebola outbreak, which had killed 41 people out of 68 cases as of September 21.
Five Ebola species
There are five known distinct species of Ebola and the outbreak raging in west Africa stems from the Zaire species—the deadliest of the lot.
That species caused the world's first known Ebola outbreak in 1976 in Zaire, now known as DR Congo, which until now was the deadliest on record, with 280 deaths.
© 2014 AFP