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article imageEbola death toll passes 4,000 says World Health Organization

By Karen Graham     Oct 10, 2014 in Health
With the start of human trials of an Ebola vaccine, the World Health Organization has released the latest figures on the current number of cases in seven nations affected by the Ebola virus. With 8,399 cases, the death toll is now 4,033.
The United nations health agency said on Friday the current Ebola epidemic is still not contained. Who said all but nine of the confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola occurred in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Liberia. Of the 4,033 deaths from Ebola, 2,316 were in Liberia, 930 in Sierra Leone, 778 in Guinea, eight in Nigeria and 1 in the United States.
According to the Irish Independent, UN special envoy David Nabarro warned the UN General Assembly that without an immediate global mobilization response, "it will be impossible to get this disease quickly under control, and the world will have to live with the Ebola virus forever". According to the United Nations, $1.0 billion is needed to respond to the Ebola outbreak, and so far, less than a quarter of the funds have been received.
While Nabarro was addressing the UN General Assembly, U.S. military personnel were constructing a hospital for ill health care workers. In the meantime, Liberian lawmakers were deciding whether to give President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf more powers during the epidemic.
More power for Liberia's president?
Liberia's House of Parliament is convening a special session to discuss proposed measures outlined in an October 1 letter. The letter gives President Sirleaf the power to restrict movement and public gatherings, as well as appropriate property "without payment of any kind or any further judicial process." According to Liberian state media, the letter also says the president has the right to "limit the right to assembly for any reason".
Liberia's state media have been accused of putting restrictions on the reporting of Ebola information, including the number of cases and an accurate death toll. The Analyst, an independent news source in Liberia says the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOH&SW) in collaboration with the Ministry of Information imposed new rules on local and international journalists, telling them how and what to report on Ebola.
The promise of a vaccine
A vaccine against the Ebola virus, made by Glaxo Smith Kline, is in the first stages of human trials, being tested on healthy individuals. So far, 40 subjects in Mali. 20 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the U.S. and 60 subjects in the U.K. are being tested.
Adrian Hill, a chief researcher in the U.K. said "This is happening extraordinarily rapidly. We've done over 100 clinical trials at this center, typically it would take us about six months to get a vaccine trial started, we've done this in just under four weeks. Everybody revealing the protocol, we've done this in record time."
"You can't just give it out," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "You have to determine if it works. That will likely take place in the first quarter of 2015." In addition to the this vaccine, another one, made by Newlink Genetics, will undergo trials beginning in the fall at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
More about Ebola, death toll rises, Vaccine, Who, global health crisis
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