Death Toll In Ebola Outbreak Jumps Again As Armed Gangs Chase Health Workers Away

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
By Paul Martin

BusinessInsider.com
July 15, 2014

DAKAR (Reuters) – The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 603 since February, with at least 68 deaths reported from three countries in the region in the last week alone, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday.

WHO said there were 85 new cases between July 8-12, highlighting continued high levels of transmission. International and local medics were struggling to get access to communities as many residents feared outsiders were spreading rather than fighting Ebola.

“It’s very difficult for us to get into communities where there is hostility to outsiders,” WHO spokesman Dan Epstein told a news briefing in Geneva. “We still face rumours, and suspicion and hostility. … People are isolated, they’re afraid, they’re scared.”

Sierra Leone recorded the highest number of deaths, which include confirmed, probable and suspect cases of Ebola, with 52. Liberia reported 13 and Guinea 3, according to the WHO figures.

Epstein said the main focus in the three countries is tracing people who have been exposed to people with Ebola and monitoring them for the 21 day incubation period to see if they were infected.

“It’s probably going to be several months before we are able to get a grip on this epidemic,” Epstein added.

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