The World Health Organization said Wednesday that 5,420 people had so far died of Ebola across eight countries, out of a total 15,145 cases of infection, since late December 2013. On Friday, the UN health agency had reported 5,177 deaths and 14,413 cases.
The WHO believes that the number of deaths is likely far higher, given that the fatality rate in the current outbreak is known to be around 70 per cent.
The deadliest Ebola outbreak ever continues to affect Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone the most. But the fresh toll came as the spread appeared to be slowing in the capital of Liberia, allowing the hardest-hit country to lift its state of emergency.
In its latest toll, WHO said that through November 16, 2,964 people had died in Liberia, out of 7,069 cases. In Sierra Leone, 1,250 people had died as of November 16 out of 6,073 cases, WHO said. Guinea, where the outbreak began late last year, counted 1,192 deaths and 1,971 cases.
Data from Mali, the latest country to be hit by Ebola, showed six cases of the deadly virus and five deaths. Data from Nigeria and Senegal remained unchanged, and both countries have been declared Ebola free. Nigeria had eight deaths and 20 cases, while Senegal had one case and no deaths.
There has been one case of infection in Spain, where an infected nurse has recovered. In the United States, four Ebola cases have been recorded and one person — a Liberian — had died from the virus.
Ebola, one of the deadliest viruses known to man, is spread only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms such as fever or vomiting.
People caring for the sick or handling the bodies of people infected Ebola are therefore especially exposed. WHO said Wednesday that a total of 584 healthcare workers were known to have contracted the virus, and 329 of them had died.