– Mali possibly on the verge of outbreak.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the death toll from the Ebola epidemic rose to 4,922 out of 10,141 known cases in eight countries through to October 23. The virus, which reached Mali through a two-year-old girl who died on Friday, now threatens Ivory Coast, having infected people virtually all along its borders with Guinea and Liberia.
The three worst-hit countries of West Africa, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone account for the bulk of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak, recording 4,912 deaths out of 10,114 cases. The overall figures include outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal, deemed by the WHO to be now over, as well as isolated cases in Spain, the United States and a single case in Mali.
But the true toll may be three times as much, by a factor of 1.5 in Guinea, 2 in Sierra Leone and 2.5 in Liberia, while the death rate is thought to be about 70 percent of all cases. The WHO has said that many families are keeping infected people at home rather than putting them into isolation in treatment centers, some of which have refused patients due to a lack of beds and basic supplies.
The U.N. agency, sounding an ominous note, said that out of the eight districts of Liberia and Guinea sharing a border with Ivory Coast, only two have yet to report confirmed or probable Ebola cases. It has also said trials of Ebola vaccines could begin in West Africa in December, a month earlier than expected, and hundreds of thousands of doses should be available for use by the middle of next year. The WHO says 15 African states, including Ivory Coast, are at highest risk of the deadly virus being imported.
In the last 10 days it sent teams to both priority Mali and Ivory Coast to help national authorities gear up their capacity to detect and treat potential cases. Four WHO experts are traveling this weekend to Mali to reinforce the team there. The agency warned on Friday that many people in Mali had potentially been exposed to the virus because the little girl was taken across the country while ill. Some 43 people with whom she was in contact, including 10 health care workers, are being monitored for symptoms that include fever.
In all, 450 health care workers have been infected to date, including one in Spain and three in the United States, leading to the death of 244 of them, the WHO said. Isolation wards have been used for medical personnel returning from Ebola zones since Craig Spencer, a doctor who treated patients in Guinea for a month, came back to New York City infected.
Extracted and modified from Yahoo News