GENEVA, Switzerland – The global death toll from the Ebola outbreak centered in west Africa has jumped to 8,235 out of 20,747 recorded cases, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, January 7.
Almost all the deaths and cases have been reported in the three west African countries worst hit by the outbreak: Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
Elsewhere, 6 people have died in Mali, one in the United States and 8 in Nigeria, which was declared Ebola-free in October.
Spain and Senegal, which have both been declared free of Ebola, had one case each but no deaths.
In Britain's first confirmed case of Ebola, a nurse recently returned from Sierra Leone was on Monday, January 5, said to be in a critical but stable condition.
Sierra Leone, which has overtaken Liberia as the country with the most infections, counted 9,780 cases and 2,943 deaths as of January 4.
The country reported 248 new confirmed cases in the week leading up to Sunday, with the west of the country, including the capital Freetown, hardest hit.
The WHO said however there were "signs that case incidence may have leveled off" in the country.
Liberia, long the hardest-hit country, has seen a steep decrease in transmission in recent weeks.
As of January 2, the country had recorded a total of 8,157 cases and 3,496 deaths.
Liberia, which in August and September was reporting more than 300 new cases each week, only reported eight new confirmed cases and 40 probable cases from Monday to Friday last week.
The district of Montserrado, which includes the capital Monrovia, continues to account for most cases, with 6 confirmed and 33 probable cases reported there during the five-day period.
In Guinea, where the outbreak started in December 2013, 2,775 Ebola cases and 1,781 deaths were recorded as of January 4.
The WHO said Wednesday the case incidence there continued to fluctuate, "with no identifiable downward trend."
It warned that the virus was continuing to spread geographically in the country, with 19 districts now affected.
In the week leading up to January 4, 74 confirmed cases were reported in the country, with Conakry the worst-hit district.
Ebola, one of the deadliest viruses known to man, is spread only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms such as fever or vomiting.
People caring for the sick or handling the bodies of people infected with Ebola are especially exposed.
As of January 4, a total of 838 healthcare workers were known to have contracted the virus, and 495 of them had died, the WHO said. – Rappler.com