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Thursday 22 March 2018

Ebola outbreak death toll hits 887

A Nigerian health official wearing a protective suit waits to screen passengers at the arrivals hall of an airport in Lagos (AP)
A Nigerian health official wearing a protective suit waits to screen passengers at the arrivals hall of an airport in Lagos (AP)
A banner reading 'Ebola is real, protect yourself and your family', warns people of the virus in Monrovia, Liberia (AP)
The sale of water buckets has increased dramatically because they are used by Liberians to fill with disinfectant and to wash their hands in order to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus (AP)

The death toll from the worst recorded outbreak of Ebola has reached 887, the World Health Organisation said.

That is an increase of 158 since the global health body released figures on July 31.

The WHO said there have been more than 1,600 cases of Ebola since the disease emerged in Guinea earlier this year.

The news comes as Nigeria announced that it had confirmed a second case in Africa's most populous nation. The patient is a doctor who treated the man who died in Nigeria last month.

According to the WHO, there have been a total of 358 deaths in Guinea, 255 deaths in Liberia, 273 deaths in Sierra Leone and one in Nigeria.

In Liberia, the government said the bodies of all Ebola victims must be cremated as fears rose that the disease could be spread by burials in residential areas.

The order came after a tense stand-off erupted over the weekend when health workers tried to bury more than 20 Ebola victims on the outskirts of Monrovia.

Authorities said military police officers were called in to help restore order so that the burials could take place.

At least 17 bodies have been abandoned on Monrovia's streets in recent days, health officials said.

Meanwhile, plastic buckets are selling at a record pace to people who fill them with chlorine to disinfect their hands.

"This situation has gotten worse. We need our concerted effort, this country needs everybody right now," information minister Lewis Brown said.

Never before has the disease with a fatality rate of at least 60% become so entrenched in urban population centres in Africa.

Ebola is spread through contact with bodily fluids such as blood, sweat and vomit. Contact with the bodies of victims is particularly dangerous as evidenced by the fact that many victims contracted the disease when touching bodies at traditional funerals.

Press Association

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