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Over 26,000 contracted Ebola: WHO

23 April 2015 14:37


The World Health Organization (WHO) says more than 26,000 people have contracted the deadly Ebola virus after its outbreak in late 2013.

The UN health organization said in a report on Wednesday that 26,079 people, mostly living in the three African nations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, have contracted the virus since December 2013.

Out of the figure, according to the WHO, a total of 10,823 have lost their lives.

The health body said the spread of the virus has slowed down, with 33 new cases having been reported in the week leading to April 19, down from 37 cases in the previous week.

Liberia, once the hardest hit country, has reported no new cases since its last victim died in late March. Liberia is expected to be declared Ebola-free in May, if no new cases emerge.

Sierra Leone and Guinea have also reported a drop in Ebola cases.

“To accelerate the decline towards zero cases will require stronger community engagement, improved contact tracing and earlier case identification,” WHO said.

Although there has also been a decrease in infection cases in Guinea, concerns are on the rise over reports of 163 unsafe burials of highly infected Ebola victims last week.

Red Cross workers, wearing protective suits, prepare for the burial of victims of Ebola, in Monrovia, Liberia, January 5, 2015. (© AFP)

Ebola spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, and has no proven vaccine or treatment, yet, although several vaccines are under trial.

It remains one of the world’s most virulent diseases, which kills between 25 to 90 percent of those who fall sick.

Ebola was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976 in an outbreak that killed 280 people.

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