Ebola death rate has reached 70%, says WHO

Nina Pham

A World Health Organisation official said the death rate in the ebola outbreak has increased to 70%.

WHO assistant director-general Bruce Aylward said the 70% rate was “a high mortality disease” in any circumstance and that UN agency was still focused on trying to get sick people isolated and provide treatment as early as possible.

Previously, WHO had said the rate was around 50%.

Aylward says there could be up to 10,000 new cases of ebola per week within two months.

He added that if the response crisis is not stepped up within 60 days, “a lot more people will die” and there will be a huge need on the ground to deal with the spiralling numbers of cases.

Aylward said that, for the last four weeks, there have been about 1,000 new cases per week, though that figure includes suspected, confirmed, and probable cases. He said WHO is aiming to have 70% of cases isolated within two months to reverse the outbreak.

Meanwhile, an international member of the UN’s medical team who was infected with ebola in Liberia has died despite “intensive medical procedures”, a German hospital said.

The St Georg hospital in Leipzig said the 56-year-old man, who has not been named, died of the infection early yesterday morning. It released no further details.

In the US, a nurse who caught ebola while treating a Liberian patient who later died has received a plasma transfusion from a doctor who beat the virus.

Nina Pham was among about 70 staff members at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died last Wesdnesday.

Pham, 26, became the first person to contract the disease within the US.

Kent Brantly, the first American to return to the US from Liberia to be treated for ebola, received an experimental treatment and fought off the virus, and has donated blood for transfusions for three others, including Pham.

Pham said she was “doing well”, and doctors are optimistic about her recovery.


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