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Ebola Death Toll Near 7,000, WHO Says

Isatu Salia carries the cremains of her husband, Ebola victim Dr. Martin Salia, while their sons Maada, 20, right, and Hinwaii, 12, walk with her to enter St. Mary's Church in Landover Hills, Md., for a funeral Mass, Nov. 29, 2014.

The World Health Organization said Saturday that the Ebola death toll has reached almost 7,000, up more than 1,000 since the last report two days earlier.

WHO officials attributed the sudden, sharp rise in the number of Ebola fatalities to a large number of previously unreported deaths.

The organization said a little more than 16,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease since March. All but a handful of cases are in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Officials said the spread of the disease has slowed in Liberia but has increased in Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, a doctor from Sierra Leone who caught Ebola while treating victims was remembered Saturday at a memorial service outside Washington.

Dr. Martin Salia died in an Omaha, Nebraska, hospital November 17.

Among those paying tribute to Salia was the head of the White House Ebola team, Ron Klain, who read a note from President Barack Obama that called the doctor a hero who chose to face danger to help others.