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Ebola Virus Outbreak

Ebola Cases Drop Off in West Africa

The number of new Ebola cases is starting to drop off in the three worst-hit West African countries, and Liberia has only reported 48 cases in the past three weeks, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday.

Guinea and Liberia both reported the fewest new cases since August, WHO says in its latest daily look at Ebola statistics. Sierra Leone is still suffering badly, with 769 new cases over the past 21 days, but that’s a decline in reported cases.

“Sierra Leone has now reported a decline in case incidence for the second week running, and recorded its lowest weekly total of new confirmed cases since the week ending 31 August 2014,” WHO said.

Overall, 21,261 people have been infected in this ongoing epidemic of Ebola, and 8,414 have died, WHO says.

Before this epidemic, fewer than 500 people were ever infected in any single Ebola outbreak.

“Guinea reported its lowest weekly total of new confirmed Ebola virus disease cases since the week ending 17 August 2014,” WHO said. “Case numbers remain low in Liberia, with no confirmed cases nationally for the final two days of the week ending 11 January, and the lowest weekly total of confirmed cases since the first week of June 2014.”

All affected countries have enough treatment capacity, but it might not all be where it’s most needed, WHO said. And safe burials are not at 100 percent yet. Many people are infected through contact with the recently dead.

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-- Maggie Fox