The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced in its most recent update that over 8,000 individuals in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea have contracted the Ebola virus.
A breakdown of the numbers shows almost 1,000 documented new cases of Ebola a week over the past few weeks. Of the 8,033 people infected thus far, about 3,865 have died from the virus.
WHO released a chart detailing the confirmed infections and deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone:
WHO also reported the trends officials have seen within the past week:
The situation in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone continues to deteriorate, with widespread and persistent transmission of EVD (Ebola Virus Disease). Problems with data gathering in Liberia continue. It should be emphasized that the reported fall in the number of new cases in Liberia over the past three weeks is unlikely to be genuine. Rather, it reflects a deterioration in the ability of overwhelmed responders to record accurate epidemiological data. It is clear from field reports and first responders that EVD cases are being under-reported from several key locations, and laboratory data that have not yet been integrated into official estimates indicate an increase in the number of new cases in Liberia. There is no evidence that the EVD epidemic in West Africa is being brought under control, though there is evidence of a decline in incidence in the districts of Lofa in Liberia, and Kailahun and Kenema in Sierra Leone.
The report’s warning that the official numbers are likely to be far less than the actual number of Ebola infections and subsequent deaths provides a stark contrast from the recent statements made by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. On Thursday, she claimed, “We are beginning to see a stabilization … even in Monrovia which has been hit the hardest.”
A Wednesday report provided by the World Bank estimated that the total cost of Ebola to West Africa could exceed $32 billion. The World Bank report documented that industries within the three infected countries have taken massive hits due to the spread of Ebola.