Abuja,(Nigeria): The World Health Organization says the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 932.
The new figures come on Wednesday as authorities in Nigeria confirmed the death of a nurse of Ebola. Saudi Arabia also announced one death of a person with Ebola-like symptoms.
The outbreak emerged in March in Guinea and shows no sign of slowing down. Most of the new deaths are coming from Liberia and Sierra Leone.
There now have been 363 deaths in Guinea, 282 in Liberia, 286 in Sierra Leone and one confirmed death in Nigeria, according to WHO’s statistics as of August 4.
A Nigerian nurse who treated a man with Ebola is now dead and five others are now sick with one of the world’s most virulent diseases after coming into contact with him, the country’s health minister said on Wednesday.
The growing number of cases in Lagos, a megacity of some 21 million people, comes as authorities acknowledge they did not treat Patrick Sawyer as an Ebola patient and isolate him for the first 24 hours after his arrival in Nigeria last month.
Sawyer, a 40-year-old American of Liberian descent with a wife and three young daughters in Minnesota, was traveling on a business flight to Nigeria when he fell ill.
The death of the unidentified nurse marks the second Ebola death in Nigeria, and is a very worrisome development since it is the Africa’s most populous country and Lagos, where the deaths occurred, one of its biggest cities.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry says a man who was being tested for the Ebola virus and has died. The 40-year-old returned on Sunday from Sierra Leone, where there has been an Ebola outbreak, and was then hospitalized in Jiddah after showing symptoms of the viral hemorrhagic fever.
Spain’s Defense Ministry said a medically-equipped Airbus 310 is ready to fly to Liberia to repatriate a Spanish missionary priest who has Ebola. The ministry said Wednesday preparations for the flight are being finalized but it is not yet known at what time the plane would take off.
The priest, Miguel Pajares, is one of three missionaries being kept in isolation at the San Jose de Monrovia Hospital in Liberia who has tested positive for the virus, Spain’s San Juan de Dios hospital order, a Catholic humanitarian group that runs hospitals around the world, said on Tuesday.
Ebola, which has no proven vaccine or treatment, has killed nearly 900 people this year in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria and health officials in many countries are struggling to halt its spread.
Health experts say those medical workers in Nigeria now infected from Sawyer would not have been contagious to their neighbors or family members until they started showing symptoms of their own. The delay in enforcing infection control measures, though, is another setback in the battle to stamp out the worst Ebola outbreak in history.