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About 3,600 kids orphaned by Ebola in W Africa: UNICEF

7 February 2015 12:19

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Some 3,600 children have been orphaned due to the Ebola outbreak in the West African countries affected by the epidemic, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says.

UNICEF said on Friday that the number covers those who have lost both their parents in the hardest-hit countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Ebola outbreak that began in December last year has left almost 9,000 children with just a single parent and caused a further 3,800 to lose their main carer, UNICEF added.

The agency also confirmed an earlier estimate that put the overall number of children who have lost at least one parent or main caregiver to the deadly epidemic at 16,600 in West Africa by mid-January.

“Since overcoming their initial fears and misconceptions about Ebola, families have been showing incredible support, providing care and protection for children whose parents have died,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s regional director for West and Central Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned of an increase in the cases of new Ebola infections in West Africa during the last week of January.

According to latest WHO figures, 22,525 people have now been affected by the disease, with deaths reaching 9,004.

Ebola is a form of hemorrhagic fever, whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces, or sweat. It can also be spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

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