Monrovia – Liberia’s Ebola death toll was rising dramatically, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, while abandoned bodies were lining streets across the country. A total of 268 people had died of the virus as of 2 August, said Assistant Health Minister for Preventive Services Tolbert Nyenswah. On 28 July, the Health Ministry had recorded 181 deaths, a week earlier 130 deaths.
Among the dead were 37 health workers, according to Nyenswah, and 2 497 people were suspected to be infected with Ebola. Dead bodies were meanwhile lying abandoned as Liberia’s authorities were struggling to cope with the Ebola outbreak that killed hundreds across West Africa, witnesses and local media reported.
Numerous health facilities had to shut down across the country after health care workers were threatened by locals who believe foreigners had brought Ebola into the country.
The World Health Organization is warning of possibly “catastrophic” consequences in West Africa – in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria – which they say is the deadliest ever. As of 31 July, the WHO had recorded 1 323 cases confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in West Africa. Of these, 729 people have died.
Two doctors treating infected patients have died of the disease, one in Sierra Leone, the other in Liberia. More than 60 healthcare workers also lost their lives, according to the WHO.
A US doctor suffering from Ebola is being treated at an Atlanta hospital after being evacuated from Liberia on Saturday. The outbreak has been caused by the most lethal strain in the family of Ebola viruses. Ebola causes massive haemorrhages and has a fatality rate of 90%. It is transmitted through blood and other body fluids.