UK & World News

  • 12 August 2014, 8:53

Death Toll From Ebola Outbreak Tops 1,000

The death toll from the ebola outbreak in West Africa has passed 1,000 people, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The health agency said some 1,013 people have died from the disease which has struck in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Residents in countries ravaged by the disease have been gripped by panic, with radical containment measures causing transport problems, price rises and shortages of food.

The rising death toll came as Liberia's presidency said the US has approved a request for sample doses of an experimental drug to be sent to Liberia.

The presidency announced that the ZMapp drug would be delivered to Liberia by a US government representative this week to treat doctors infected with the disease.

However, a spokesperson for the US Health and Human Services (HHS) Department said US authorities had simply helped connect the Liberian government with the drug's manufacturer.

Doctors in Spain have already imported ZMapp to treat a priest evacuated from Liberia after he tested positive for ebola.

ZMapp has been successfully tested on monkeys, but only recently used on humans. The drug is also being tested on two Americans infected with the disease.

The latest outbreak of ebola has killed around 55-60% of those infected with the disease.

But a British hygiene expert working with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has told Sky News the statistics do not reveal the true picture of how serious the situation is.

Cokie van der Velde, who has worked with MSF for 12 years, said: "What we need is more agencies to come forward working in these countries to reverse this epidemic.

"The numbers of dead and infected don't show the real situation. There are deaths in villages and all over [Liberia] which are not being recorded."