Ebola outbreak largest ever as death toll hits 467

Deaths attributed to an epidemic of Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone stood at 467, out of 759 known cases in total, the World Health Organisation said.

The outbreak of the deadly disease is already the largest and deadliest ever, according to the WHO, which previously put the death toll at 399 as of June 23, out of 635 cases.

The 17% rise in deaths and 20% jump in cases in the space of a week added urgency to an emergency meeting of 11 West African health ministers in Ghana.

Liberian authorities have warned that anyone caught hiding suspected Ebola patients will be prosecuted. Some families, faith healers and traditional doctors were reported to be removing patients from hospital for special prayers and traditional medicine.

The outbreak has left some of the world’s poorest states grappling with the contagious disease.

The WHO said three key factors were contributing to the spread of the disease.

One was the burial of victims in accordance with cultural practices and traditional beliefs in rural communities. Another was the dense population around the capitals of Guinea and Liberia. The third was commercial and social activity along the borders of the countries.


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