Skip to main content

Ebola 2014: Death toll, new cases on the rise in Africa

By Sara Cheshire, Special to CNN
updated 3:57 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • As of July 12, a total of 603 deaths from Ebola have been reported
  • The WHO is sending senior disease specialists to Guinea's capital
  • The Ebola outbreak was first documented in March, and has been spreading since

(CNN) -- High numbers of new Ebola cases and deaths in Africa are prompting increased efforts to contain the deadly outbreak.

As of July 12, the cumulative number of Ebola virus cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone was at 964, including 603 deaths. The death toll has almost doubled in a month's time; reported deaths in the three countries in mid-June was 350.

A coordination center is being established in Conakry, Guinea, where the World Health Organization is sending epidemiologists, communications experts and other support staff. Trained volunteers are also helping officials find possible cases and isolate infected individuals.

Can we stop the deadliest Ebola outbreak from spreading?

Cultural practices aiding Ebola spread
Fighting Ebola in urban Africa

The Ebola outbreak in Guinea was first reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March. By the end of the month, UNICEF said at least 59 out of 80 people who contracted Ebola there had died. In April, the outbreak spread to Conakry, Guinea's capital, and to neighboring countries Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Ebola typically kills 90% of those infected with the virus, but the death rate in this outbreak has dropped to roughly 60% thanks to early treatment.

Officials believe that the Ebola outbreak has taken such a strong hold in West Africa due to the proximity of the jungle --where the virus originated -- to Conakry, which has a population of 2 million. Since symptoms don't immediately appear, the virus can easily spread as people travel around the region. Once the virus takes hold, many die in an average of 10 days as the blood fails to clot and hemorrhaging occurs.

What you need to know about Ebola

The disease isn't contagious until symptoms appear. Symptoms include fever, headache and fatigue. At that point, the Ebola virus is spread via bodily fluids.

The CDC says this particular outbreak is challenging to contain due to weak healthcare infrastructures and community mistrust and resistance in the affected countries. It is the first time a major outbreak of the virus has been seen in West Africa, which aids in the confusion and fear over the current situation, the WHO said on its website.

I survived Ebola but villagers shunned me

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:42 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 4:58 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT