The number of cases and the numbers of deaths in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa already exceed the totals for all previous outbreaks combined. The first known Ebola outbreaks took place in 1976.
The current outbreak, thought to have started in December, 2013, “is an exponential crisis that demands an exceptional global response,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told a Sept. 16 news conference.
“Liberia remains the country worst affected by the epidemic,” according to the Sept. 18 WHO situation report
A separate outbreak began in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August, 2014.
Here are some figures from the Sept. 18 report, which the WHO says may be underestimates.
Number of countries with cases: 5 (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal)
Number of cases as of Sept. 14: 5,357
Number of deaths as of Sept. 14: 2,630
Number of deaths as a share of the number of total cases, West Africa: 49 per cent
Percentage of cases that were reported in the previous 21 days: 45 (That number clearly indicates the disease had been spreading rapidly, according to WHO.)
Number of new cases, Sept. 7-14: 967
Number of deaths, Sept. 7-14: 404
The disease is spreading most rapidly in Liberia, “driven by a surge of cases in the capital, Monrovia,” the WHO says. In both the previous two weeks, more than 200 new cases were reported in Monrovia, more than half the new cases reported in Liberia
On a positive note, six districts in Guinea, one in Sierra Leone, and two in Liberia reported no new cases during the 21 days ending Sept. 14. However, one area in Liberia and one in Guinea that had been Ebola-free reported their first cases during the week ending Sept. 14.
Ebola takes down health-care workers
Number of cases involving health-care workers in West Africa, as of Sept. 14: 318
Number of deaths. among those cases: 151 (47 per cent)
Number of doctors and nurses needed for a 70- to 80-bed Ebola treatment centre: 200
Number of beds available to treat an Ebola patient anywhere in Liberia: 0 (The humanitarian response to the epidemic is running short on almost everything from body bags to mobile laboratories.)
Percentage of health-care workers that the WHO wants to be from foreign countries: 20
Number of health care workers China has sent to Sierra Leone for Ebola response: 115 (it is also sending a mobile lab and a staff of 59 to help test for infections).
Number of health professionals Cuba is sending to Sierra Leone for Ebola response: 165 (The Cubans are set to arrive in the first week of October and stay six months.)