The death toll in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak has risen to 603, the World Health Organization (WHO)) said on Tuesday, with 68 new fatalities mostly in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The UN health agency said the new deaths were recorded between July 8 and 12, and that 52 of them were in Sierra Leone, 13 in Liberia and three in Guinea, which had previously borne the brunt of the outbreak.
The WHO issues regular updates on the outbreak, which is the first ever in west Africa and the deadliest since Ebola was discovered in the 1970s.
“We still have a high level of transmission taking place into the communities,” WHO spokesman Daniel Epstein told reporters.
The number of new cases reported over the period was 85, the figures showed.
The total number of laboratory-confirmed, probable or suspected cases of Ebola in the region has now risen to 964, said the WHO. Although Guinea recorded the lowest number of new cases — six — it remains the worst-affected of the three nations.
In total, it has seen 406 cases and 304 deaths since the outbreak began in January.
Sierra Leone reported 49 new cases July 8 and 12, taking its total to 386. Of those, 194 have been fatal.
Liberia’s figures showed 30 new cases. That took its case-count to 172 and its death toll to 105.
The WHO and 11 west African health ministers earlier this month held crunch talks to try to combat the outbreak of the incurable disease.
Ebola is a form of haemorrhagic fever which is deadly in up to 90 percent of cases.
It can fell victims within days, causing severe fever and muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhoea — and in some cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.
Ebola is believed to be carried by animals hunted for meat, notably bats.
It spreads among humans via bodily fluids including sweat, meaning you can get sick from simply touching an infected person. With no vaccine, patients believed to have caught the virus must be isolated to prevent further contagion.
The WHO, local medical services and international charities have been working flat-out to discourage communities from continuing funeral rights that involve touching dead bodies.
“Our tactic is to get insiders, including religious leaders, community leaders, people respected, who can go into the communities,” said Epstein.
He said that was also a key means of quashing rumours about the disease, which continue to circulate.
Ebola first emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is named after a river in that country. ref: AFP
#Achebe USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu gets award for his works on #ThingsFallApart author Chinua Achebe from ASA-USA Dallas. Chido is completing the book on Mandela & Achebe: Footprints of Greatness. by Chido Nwangwu ISBN 978-0-9893970-0-1. www.MandelaAchebeChido.com
VIDEO #CNN special #CHIBOK Girls n #BokoHaram Live intvw wt the Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public policy networks Chido Nwangwu. CNN anchors John Berman n Michaela Pereira.
specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the internet, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/
•Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University in Rhode Island and former adviser on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; CLASSmagazine, AchebeBooks.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of AfricanChristians, Nigeria360 and the largest pictorial events megasite on the African diaspora www.PhotoWorks.TV . He was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn e-mail: Chido247@Gmail.com wireless 1-832-45-CHIDO (24436).
IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary, exclusively, at USAfricaonline.com http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/