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Ebola Death Toll Rises, But Virus 'Contained' in Nigeria, Senegal

  • VOA News

The World Health Organization says Ebola outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal appear to have been stopped, though the regional death toll from the disease has climbed past 2,800.

A report from the WHO's Africa office said there have been no new cases of Ebola reported in Nigeria since September 8 and none in Senegal since the country's first and only case was reported on August 29.

It said the outbreaks in both countries "are pretty much contained."

A separate WHO report said Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone continued to report new cases of the disease. It said the total number of cases in West Africa has risen to 5,864 and the number of deaths has increased to 2,811.

It said an unrelated Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has infected 71 people and killed 40.

The numbers do not include 130 new Ebola cases found in Sierra Leone during a three-day nationwide lockdown that ended late Sunday.

The government had ordered the country's six million people to stay home as health workers went door-to-door trying to educate people on how to avoid spreading or contracting Ebola.

Sierra Leone's chief medical officer, Brima Kargbo, told VOA authorities asked people not to hide family members infected with Ebola or to keep corpses in their homes.

"Once we go to a home, we educate people, then they would tell us here we have a person who is ill. And that person is then asked whether he or she is linked to any Ebola-related patient, and once that has been established he or she is taken to a holding center, blood samples are taken and tested, and if they are positive they remain there in the holding center,” said Kargbo.

Sierra Leone's Health Ministry reported it reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes during the lockdown. Officials said the outreach would continue in communities that have been identified as hot spots across the country.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said about 60 personnel have arrived in West Africa as part of the U.S. effort to combat Ebola. A spokesman said Monday that another 30 to 40 would arrive on Tuesday.

The United States has committed $175 million to help combat the outbreak and is sending 3,000 troops to the region to build field hospitals and provide logistical aid.

On Monday, the WHO's Ebola emergency committee called for an end to flight cancellations and travel restrictions to the Ebola zone. It said these measures hampered international relief efforts and hurt the countries' economies.

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