WHO update sharply raises Ebola death toll to near 7,000


Nearly 7,000 people have died from Ebola in West Africa, the World Health Organization said late Friday, adding some 1,200 more deaths to a tally released two days earlier.

A total of 16,169 people were infected, of whom 6,928 died in the three countries at the center of the outbreak — Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia — the WHO said.

On Wednesday, the WHO had put the Ebola death total in the three countries at 5,674, including 15 additional deaths in other countries.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic attributed the steep hike in fatalities, mainly in Liberia, principally to “a reconciliation of historical numbers” rather than new deaths in recent days.

Given the difficulty in collecting the data, the agency previously said it believes there have been far more deaths than recorded in the outbreak.

Liberia accounts for the lion’s share of the new deaths and its tally now stands at 4,181, among 7,244 cases.

Sierra Leone, which according to the WHO is still experiencing a rapid spread of the virus in many parts of the country, now counts 1,461 deaths out of 6,802 cases. Guinea, where the outbreak began nearly a year ago, had 1,284 deaths out of 2,123 cases.

The WHO did not provide an update on other countries affected by the outbreak.