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WHO: Ebola Spreading in West Africa

Joel Achenbach | The Washington Post   in 
October 15, 2014

The Ebola virus is killing 70 percent of those infected, and there could be as many as 10,000 new cases a week in West Africa by Dec. 1, a top official with the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

There are some signs of progress in West Africa, with new cases dropping in several areas that had been hit hard by the virus earlier this year, noted Bruce Aylward, WHO assistant director-general overseeing the organization’s response to the epidemic. But the disease is spreading across a broader geographical region, including along the border with Ivory Coast, and it continues to be rampant in national capitals.

Aylward, speaking in a conference call with journalists, reiterated a comment made last week in Washington at a meeting on Ebola at the World Bank headquarters: This virus is killing 7 of every 10 people who become infected. That statement contradicted many earlier estimates that it was killing about half the victims.

The latest WHO numbers show 8,914 suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola and 4,447 deaths. That would seem to imply that half the people stricken with Ebola will survive the disease. But Aylward said that underestimates the true death rate.

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