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WHO holds crisis meeting on Ebola outbreak

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is hosting an emergency meeting in Ghana as the death toll from the deadly Ebola virus keeps rising in West Africa.

Health officials from eleven African countries are meeting in Ghana’s capital city of Accra on Wednesday to find a way to contain the deadliest outbreak of the virus in history.

Representatives from Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda attended the meeting. Dozens of International organizations, including various UN agencies, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will also participate in today’s meeting.

The WHO said on Tuesday that there have now been 759 confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola, which has affected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The UN health agency said the latest figures showed a 38-percent increase in the number of deaths and a 27-percent rise in the number of overall cases since June 24. It also said the death toll in West Africa has risen to 467, with 68 of the deaths recorded since the WHO’s last update.

Figures indicate that Guinea has been hardest-hit by the outbreak, where some 413 cases and 303 deaths from hemorrhagic fever are believed to be due to the Ebola virus. Liberia has so far reported 65 deaths, while Sierra Leone has seen 239 patients who are believed to be suffering from the disease, of whom, 99 have lost their lives.

Health officials say the region’s porous borders have allowed infected people to carry the disease into other countries. The WHO says “drastic” action is needed to stamp out the virus and ensure it does not spread to other countries in the region.

There is currently no known cure for Ebola, a form of hemorrhagic fever whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding.

The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces or sweat. It can be also spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.


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