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GENEVA, December 17. /TASS/. The number of people killed by the Ebola virus has exceeded 6,900, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement Wednesday.
“A total of 18 603 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in five affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and the United States of America) and three previously affected countries (Nigeria, Senegal and Spain) in the seven days to 14 December (week 50). There have been 6915 reported deaths,” the WHO’s report said.
“Reported case incidence is fluctuating in Guinea and declining in Liberia. In Sierra Leone, there are signs the increase in incidence has slowed, and that incidence may no longer be increasing. The case fatality rate in the three intense-transmission countries among all cases for whom a definitive outcome is recorded is 70%,” it said.
“For those patients recorded as hospitalized, the case fatality rate is 60% in each of Guinea and Sierra Leone, and 58% in Liberia,” the report said.
“Interventions in the three most-affected countries continue to progress in line with the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response aim to isolate and treat 100% of EVD cases and bury safely and with dignity 100% of EVD-related fatal cases by 1 January, 2015,” the WHO said.
“At a national level, there is now sufficient bed capacity in EVD treatment facilities to treat and isolate all reported EVD cases in each of the three countries, although the uneven distribution of beds and cases means serious shortfalls persist in some districts,” it said.
“At a national level, each country has sufficient capacity to bury all people known to have died from Ebola, although it is possible that in some areas capacity remains inadequate. Every district that has reported a case of EVD in the three intense-transmission countries has access to a laboratory within 24 hours from sample collection,” the report said.
“All three countries report that more than 80% of registered contacts associated with known cases of EVD are being traced. Social mobilization continues to be an important component of the response to curb the spread of disease. Community engagement promotes burial practices that are safe and culturally acceptable, and the isolation and appropriate treatment of patients with clinical symptoms of EVD,” it said.
In line with statistics, the maximum number of Ebola-related deaths and cases is registered in Liberia - 3,290 deaths and 7,797 cumulative cases. Liberia is followed by Sierra Leone (2,085 deaths and 8,356 cases) and Guinea (1,525 and 2,416 respectively).
The Ebola virus disease, previously known as the Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe illness in humans, often fatal, according to the WHO. The virus is passed on to people from wild animals and can be transmitted from humans to humans. The average EVD case death rate is some 50%
The first outbreaks of the EVD occurred in remote Central African villages, near tropical rainforests. However, major urban and rural areas have been involved in the most recent outbreak in western Africa.
Early supportive care, which includes rehydration and symptomatic treatment, improves the survival rate.
No licensed treatment has yet been proven to be able to neutralize the virus but a number of blood, immunological and drug medications are under development. There are no licensed Ebola vaccines yet but two candidates are being evaluated.