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Ebola cases rise for first time in weeks: WHO

 
 
 
 
 
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Photo shows health workers carrying the body of an Ebola patient in Sierra Leone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the cases of new Ebola infections in West Africa increased during the last week of January.

In the first weekly increase in new Ebola cases in 2015, the United Nations health agency said on Wednesday that 124 new cases had been registered in the three West African countries affected the most by the virus. The organization said that Sierra Leone had registered 80 new cases, Guinea 39, and Liberia five.

The WHO added that the recent rise in Ebola cases was partly due to unsafe local burial practices.

“An unsafe burial that took place in early January in the (Guinean) eastern prefecture of Lola, on the border with Côte d’Ivoire, has so far resulted in an outbreak of 11 confirmed cases,” the WHO said.

This comes as West Africa had witnessed a decline in the number of Ebola cases for weeks.

The UN organization has announced the need to step up efforts ahead of the April-May rainy season, which can make it difficult for health teams to travel.

Ebola is 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.

It has claimed the lives of some 9,000 people since December 2013.

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