Almost 7,000 people have died of Ebola viruse disease and more than 16,000 either have had the virus or are likely to have been infected, according to media accounts of World Health Organization figures reported Friday. Both are significantly higher than those previously released by WHO. It put the number of the dead at 5,674 and the number of the infected at 15,901 Wednesday.
The United Nations health agency has indicated it believes the number of dead could be even higher because many people died before they could be diagnosed. The organization also reports that numerous others have likely contracted the virus in remote areas where they do not have access to health care.
WHO’s latest report found Liberia has had 7,244 confirmed cases of Ebola and 4,181 deaths, CNN reported. Meanwhile, nearby Sierra Leone, which has seen an increase in cases recently, has been reporting 400 to 500 new cases every week for several weeks, the Associated Press said.
In contrast, the health agency found the situation in Liberia has stabilized, with reported cases of Ebola lessening in the past five weeks.
The latest figures showed that about 60 percent of those infected have died from the virus.
The U.N. has sought aid from a number of countries outside Africa and requested almost $1 billion in September to help Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone control the deadly outbreak.
While experimental drugs and treatments have been used to treat Ebola, there is no vaccine capable of preventing the virus yet. However, the U.S. National Institutes of Health is reportedly in the advanced stages of testing a GlaxoSmithKline PLC vaccine to help stop the disease.