The Ebola epidemic sweeping through West African countries has claimed over 1,400 lives. Meanwhile, two new cases have emerged in Nigeria.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that the number of deaths by Ebola had reached 1,427. In all, 2,615 suspected or confirmed cases have been reported in West Africa.
Ebola claimed the maximum number of lives in Liberia where 624 people succumbed to the disease. In Guinea, 406 died and 392 in Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, two new cases were discovered in Nigeria. According to the Nigerian health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu, the victims were infected by their spouses who were medical workers and came into contact with an infected person, Patrick Sawyer, flying in from Liberia.
Sawyer, was not quarantined immediately after he arrived. This delay caused the hemorrhagic fever to spread to 11 others, killing a total of five in the country. The Nigerian government has kept 213 people under surveillance for indications of Ebola. People infected with the disease display flu-like symptoms and suffer internal and external hemorrhaging. There is no vaccine for the virus.
The WHO is also concerned that several cases of Ebola might be going undetected because families prefer hiding the victims at home. Some infected people prefer to die at home, especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the disease is associated with social stigma and isolation.
Neighboring countries in West Africa are also growing increasingly concerned about the epidemic and have closed land borders and even stopped flights to these countries. South Africa,Senegal and Gabon are the latest countries to seal their borders and impose travel bans on Ebola-hit countries.
mg/hc (AP, dpa, AFP)