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Nigeria Confirms Ebola Cases From Secondary Contact

FILE - Nigeria's Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu speaks at the media briefing on updates about the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria at his office in Abuja, Aug. 14, 2014.

Officials in Nigeria say the Ebola virus in the country has for the first time spread to people who did not have direct contact with the country's first victim, widening the circle of those infected.

The development comes as the World Health Organization announced the death toll from the epidemic in West Africa has risen to 1,427 people. The WHO said Friday there are 2,615 confirmed cases of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Ebola outbreaks, deaths in east Africa, as of August 20, 2014
Ebola outbreaks, deaths in east Africa, as of August 20, 2014

Nigeria's health minister announced Friday that two new people were confirmed to have Ebola, and neither patient had direct contact with Patrick Sawyer, an infected Liberian-American who first brought the disease to Lagos from Liberia.

Onyebuchi Chukwu says the new patients are spouses of medical workers who had contact with Sawyer. He said the total number of confirmed infections in Nigeria had risen to 14, with five people dying from the virus.

"This also means that the total number of cases of Ebola virus disease so far recorded in the country is 14, that is including the index case. The number of deaths still remains at five while the number of those successfully managed and discharged also remains at five," said Chukwu.

In another development, Senegal became the latest African country to seal its border in a bid to prevent the spread of Ebola. The country announced it is closing its border with Guinea and banning flights from affected West African countries.

A number of countries, including South Africa and Cameroon, recently imposed travel bans.

Also Friday, a World Health Organization spokeswoman, Fadela Chaib said the United Nations health agency is working on a "road map document" to combat the virus. She said the strategy will have details of plans to combat the virus over the next six to nine months.

Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.

The disease causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea and uncontrollable bleeding through bodily openings, including the eyes, ears and nose. Previous outbreaks have had a death rate of up to 90 percent, although the death rate in the current epidemic is closer to 50 percent.

Two American aid workers who were infected with Ebola in Liberia left the U.S. hospital this week where they had been receiving treatment.

Doctors say Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol have recovered. They received the experimental drug ZMapp but doctors said they do not know if the medication helped them recover.