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Sierra Leone Overtakes Liberia in Number of Ebola Cases

FILE- A child suffering from Ebola receives treatment at Makeni Arab Holding Center in Makeni, Sierra Leone, Oct. 4, 2014.

The World Health Organization says new cases of Ebola continue to rise in West Africa, and it says Sierra Leone has overtaken Liberia as the country with the highest number of cases.

Data published Monday by the WHO shows that Sierra Leone has recorded 7,798 cases of the deadly virus, indicating that the disease is now spreading fastest in that country.

Infection rates for Ebola are decreasing in Liberia, which now has just over 7,700 cases. Liberia still has more Ebola deaths than any other country.

The WHO says that, overall, Ebola has infected nearly 18,000 people, killing 6,346. The vast majority of cases have been in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

In a report last week, the WHO said the Ebola transmission in Sierra Leone remains persistent and intense across the country, with the exception of the south. The worst affected area was the capital, Freetown.

The WHO says the outbreak is stabilizing in Liberia and Guinea.

In another development, the United Nations said Monday that Japan has donated 20,000 sets of protective equipment to help health workers fighting Ebola in West Africa. It says Japan has promised to send another 680,000 of the protection units.