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More than 16,000 sickened with Ebola, 7,000 died

Updated: 2014-11-29 20:51

More than 16,000 sickened with Ebola, 7,000 died
French President Francois Hollande has his temperature measured upon his arrival at the Donka Hospital in Conakry, November 28, 2014, as part of a one-day visit in Guinea focused on Ebola. [Photo/Agencies]

More than 16,000 people have been infected with Ebola and nearly 7,000 have died, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.

The new death toll, released late Friday by the UN agency, represents an increase of more than 1,000 deaths since a report from two days before. Most of the new deaths were recorded in Liberia, but the new toll likely includes deaths that have gone unreported over a significant period of time.

Data from the outbreak has been spotty and slow to come and often death and case tolls see large jumps when backlogs of information are cleared. Because the data is so hard to come by, the World Health Organization has cautioned that its figures may significantly underreport the actual number of people sickened and killed by the disease.

The current outbreak began in West Africa and has been severely hitting three countries there: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Friday's data showed there have been 16,169 cases in just those three countries -- an increase of 268 cases since a report two days earlier. There have also been around three dozen cases elsewhere. Most recently, Mali began recording infections after sick people crossed over from neighboring Guinea.

The numbers of people sickened and killed in this outbreak exceed by several magnitudes any previous outbreak of Ebola, which previously broke out in remote areas of east and central Africa. This time, however, it began in a highly mobile region, where Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone meet, and quickly hopped to those countries' capitals.

Liberia has recorded the highest number of cases and deaths, but the rate of infection is slowing there. The disease is now spreading fastest in Sierra Leone.

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