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WHO: Ebola Deaths, Infections on the Rise

by VOA News February 10, 2015

The number of deaths from Ebola has risen to 9,152, a sharp increase following weeks in which the outbreak appeared to be weakening.

The death toll reported Tuesday by the World Health Organization represents a jump of nearly 150 deaths since the agency's last update three days earlier.

The WHO said the number of new cases climbed by 303, with 136 new cases in Liberia, 113 in Sierra Leone, and 54 in Guinea.

U.N. special envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro told reporters in Geneva the new numbers show the outbreak is not yet under control. He said the goal is to reduce the number of new cases to zero.

'Good progress is being made, but the outbreak still represents a grave threat,' Nabarro said, 'and we really hope that there will be no complacency in anybody involved in the response. We have to really work hard to get zero cases, zero transmissions.'

Health experts have cautioned West Africans against becoming complacent about the disease. The WHO recently said a single unsafe burial in Guinea last month caused 11 confirmed Ebola cases.

Those killed by the virus remain contagious, and must be buried by workers in protective equipment.

A large-scale trial of two potential Ebola vaccines began earlier this month in Liberia. Organizers of the study, led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, aim to enlist a total of around 27,000 healthy men and women for the trial.

The WHO has said there is an urgent need to end the outbreak before the wet season begins and access to remote areas becomes more difficult.

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