posted at 08:51
Author: The Associated Press
Ebola cases now top 16,000 worldwide, nearly 7,000 dead: WHO
DAKAR, Senegal - Sierra Leone will soon see a dramatic increase in desperately needed Ebola treatment beds, but it's still not clear who will staff them, according to the top United Nations official in the fight against the disease. Ebola has sickened more than 16,000 people of whom nearly 7,000 have died, according to figures released by the World Health Organization Friday. Those cases are concentrated in the capital, Freetown, its surrounding areas and the northern Port Loko district, which together account for about 65% of Sierra Leone's new infections, Anthony Banbury, head of the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, said in an interview with The Associated Press. The bodies of Ebola victims are extremely contagious and the touching of dead bodies might be responsible for as much as 50 percent of all new cases, Banbury said. The United Nations had hoped that by Dec. 1, the end of the outbreak would be in sight: Two months ago, it said it wanted to have 70% of Ebola cases isolated and 70% of dead bodies safely buried by that date. "As long as there's one person with Ebola out there, then the crisis isn't over and Ebola is a risk to the people of that community, that country, this sub-region, this continent, this world," he said. There are currently no known Ebola cases in the United States. Most recently, two children in Ohio reportedly tested negative for Ebola earlier this week after traveling to West Africa.

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