Ebola likely claimed far more lives than reported: WHO

Friday, November 7, 2014
By Paul Martin

Friday Nov 07, 2014

The deadly Ebola virus has likely claimed far more lives than the number reported by the World Health Organization, an expert at the UN agency says.

“There are lots of missing deaths in this epidemic,” said the WHO director of strategy, Christopher Dye, on Thursday, assessing that the list of 4,818 fatalities could be missing another 5,000 deaths.

According to the UN expert, the known fatality rate stands at about 70 percent for the current epidemic centered in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

With total reported cases of infections reaching 13,042, the result suggests that many of the deaths were going unrecorded, Dye added.

He went on to explain that the most likely reason was that many people were burying the dead in secret, possibly to avoid having authorities interfere with burial customs.

Washing and touching the deceased during burial customs is widely blamed for much of the transmission of the Ebola virus, Dye said.

UN System Coordinator for Ebola Virus Disease David Nabarro recently stated that the situation was “still bad” and the international community had to remain on full alert until the last Ebola case was under treatment.

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