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WHO: Recorded Ebola Deaths Top 7,000   12/22 07:13

   CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) -- The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed 
more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra 
Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General 
Ban Ki-moon continued his tour of Ebola-affected countries in West Africa on 
Saturday.

   The three countries hit hardest by Ebola have now recorded 7,373 deaths, up 
from 6,900 on Wednesday, according to WHO figures posted online late Friday. A 
total of 392 of the new deaths were in Sierra Leone, where Ebola is spreading 
the fastest.

   The new totals include confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola deaths. The 
WHO says there have also been six Ebola deaths in Mali, eight in Nigeria and 
one in the United States.

   The total number of cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia now stands at 
19,031, up from 18,569.

   Ban arrived in Guinea, where the outbreak's first cases were confirmed back 
in March, on Saturday after touring Liberia and Sierra Leone on Friday. After 
meeting with President Alpha Conde, he expressed concern about the situation in 
the country's southeast forest region, where he said the number of infected 
people "seems to continue to grow." The region borders Liberia, Sierra Leone 
and Ivory Coast, and Ban called for cross-border collaboration to bring the 
disease under control.

   He urged all Guineans to commit themselves to eradicating Ebola, saying that 
the U.N. and its partners "are there to help you."

   "It has never been so important to work together," he said.

   Guinea has recorded 2,453 Ebola deaths and 1,550 cases, according to the 
WHO. This past week, officials in Conakry, the capital, announced a ban on New 
Year's Eve celebrations such as fireworks displays and beach gatherings in a 
bid to curtail transmission.

   Ban was expected to travel to Mali Saturday evening.  


(KA)


 
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