The death toll from the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa has surpassed 10,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday.
In the largest-ever outbreak of Ebola, the Geneva-based agency said that there were 10,004 recorded deaths in the three hardest-hit West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Liberia has recorded the highest number of deaths at 4,162, followed by Sierra Leone's 3,655 and Guinea's 2,187 deaths. There have also been six deaths in Mali, one in the US, and eight in Nigeria. Those countries have since been declared Ebola-free.
Despite ongoing international efforts to stop the spread of the disease, it continues to spread in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Liberia last week released its last patient from hospital.
An experimental Ebola vaccine, developed by Merck and NewLink Genetics, entered the final stage of testing in Guinea last weekend, weeks after a similar test began in neighboring Liberia.
Meanwhile, a female British healthcare worker was flown to London by a Royal Air Force (RAF) plane after contracting the virus in Sierra Leone. She is being treated in an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
She is the third Briton to have caught the virus in Sierra Leone.
sb/msh (dpa, AFP, Reuters)