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BERLIN, January 4. /TASS/. The European Union plans to hold an international conference dedicated to the fight against the Ebola virus disease (EVD), EU Ebola Coordinator Christos Stylianides told German newspaper Die Welt.
“I decided to convene an international representative conference on the fight against the epidemic within the first few months of this year,” Stylianides said. He said specific measures and development of a long-term strategy to prevent the disease from spreading will be discussed at the meeting.
The official called on the European Union’s member states to provide more medical personnel and increase financing of affected countries.
“We have reached the critical point,” the coordinator said. He said by the end of 2014, the EVD killed 375 medical workers. Overall, 678 people who fought the spread of the EVD were infected with the disease by the end of last year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement January 2 that the number of people killed by the Ebola virus has reached 7,989. A total of 20,381 cases of the Ebola virus disease have been reported, the report said. The data refer to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
In line with statistics, the maximum number of Ebola-related deaths and cases has been registered in Liberia - 3,423 cumulative deaths and 8,018 cumulative cases. Liberia is followed by Sierra Leone (2,827 deaths and 9,633 cases) and Guinea (1,739 and 2,730 respectively).
Separate cases have also been registered in Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, Britain and the United States.
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.