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WASHINGTON, September 03 /ITAR-TASS/. The number of people killed by the Ebola virus disease (EVD) has exceeded 1,900, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan said on Wednesday.
She said about 3,500 people had been infected with Ebola in Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Liberia.
Last week, WHO named six countries that are facing the risk of the EVD spread: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Senegal. The organisation and its partners are now working with countries to ensure that full Ebola surveillance, preparedness and response plans are in place in these countries, it said.
To reduce the probability of the disease spreading elsewhere, the governments have set up quarantine zones in areas of high transmission including severely-affected cities in Guinea, Sierra Leone and in Liberia. This prevents people living in these areas from moving to other parts of the country and potentially increasing EVD transmission, WHO said.
The Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) was first reported in 1976 in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and got its name from the river near which the first outbreak occurred.
It is a severe, often fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90% It is one of the world’s most virulent diseases. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care.
The United Nations has launched a system-wide coordination initiative to assist the effected West African countries in stopping the spread of the virus, which has left more than 1,400 people dead and is now affecting more than 1 million people throughout the region.
On August 8, WHO Director-General Chan declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
WHO will host a consultation on potential Ebola therapies and vaccines in Geneva on September 4-5 in order to gather expertise about the most promising experimental therapies and vaccines and their role in containing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Participating in the consultation will be more than 100 experts working in various fields, ranging from pharmaceutical research and the clinical demands of Ebola care, to expertise on ethical, legal, and regulatory issues. More than 20 experts from West Africa are expected to attend.