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WHO: Ebola Epidemic in Liberia 'May' Be Slowing, But Crisis Far From Over

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DAKAR, Senegal - More than 13,000 people have been infected with Ebola in West Africa, and 70 percent of them are dying, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. And there is a tiny piece of good news -- the epidemic may be slowing slightly in parts of Liberia. But WHO warned the epidemic is far from over. There are empty beds in treatment centers and the number of burials in Liberia has declined, Dr. Bruce Aylward, the assistant director-general for WHO, told reporters. He said there may be as much as a 25 percent week-on-week reduction in cases in Liberia.

Throughout the Ebola outbreak, WHO has warned that its data have been incomplete and the number of cases are likely vastly underreported. Aylward said that is still possible. "The epidemic (in Liberia) may be slowing down," he said. Still, "a slight decline in cases in a few days versus getting this thing closed out is a completely different ball game," he cautioned.

Liberia's Red Cross said Tuesday that teams collected 117 bodies last week from the county that includes Monrovia, down from the high of 315 in September. Several times throughout this outbreak, including in Liberia, officials have thought the disease's spread was slowing, only to surge again later. They have often blamed those false lulls on cases being hidden because people were too afraid to seek treatment, wanted to bury their relatives themselves or simply weren't in contact with authorities.

In-Depth

- The Associated Press

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