UN: We Could See 20K Ebola Cases

2nd Ebola strain found in Democratic Republic of Congo

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 28, 2014 7:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – Ebola cases in West Africa could multiply sixfold, affecting up to 20,000 as the virus "continues to accelerate," the World Health Organization said today, per Reuters. Some 1,552 people have now died out of the 3,069 cases reported—though the actual number of cases could be four times that amount, the AP reports. "More than 40% of the total number of cases have occurred within the past 21 days," the UN health agency said, noting an "unprecedented" number of health workers have been hit. The latest figures do not include cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a different strain of Ebola is wreaking havoc.

Though the majority of cases in the outbreak are in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the BBC reports Nigeria has seen its sixth Ebola death, and the first outside the city of Lagos, in the oil hub of Port Harcourt. To help combat the spread, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline notes it is working with the National Institutes of Health on a vaccine to treat Ebola and will begin human trials on healthy volunteers in the coming weeks. If effective, the company will provide 10,000 doses to WHO workers, Sky News reports. Meanwhile, the WHO has revealed a new plan to tackle the virus, which includes focusing on "stopping transmission in capital cities and major ports."

Participants load a stretcher into an ambulance during a training course to instruct NGO workers and doctors on how to deal with the Ebola virus in Brussels on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014.
Participants load a stretcher into an ambulance during a training course to instruct NGO workers and doctors on how to deal with the Ebola virus in Brussels on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014.   (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
People stand on the shoreline near a sign reading NO DUMPING among rubbish at West Point, an area heavily affected by the Ebola virus.
People stand on the shoreline near a sign reading "NO DUMPING" among rubbish at West Point, an area heavily affected by the Ebola virus.   (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Bruce Aylward, WHO assistant director-general, speaks about the Ebola road map in Geneva, Switzerland on August 28, 2014.
Bruce Aylward, WHO assistant director-general, speaks about the Ebola road map in Geneva, Switzerland on August 28, 2014.   (AP Photo/Keystone/Martial Trezzini)
American Aid goods are loaded onto a truck to be used in the fight against the Ebola virus spreading in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, on Aug. 24, 2014.
American Aid goods are loaded onto a truck to be used in the fight against the Ebola virus spreading in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, on Aug. 24, 2014.   (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
A woman sits with a baby in the West Point area that has been hardest hit by Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia, on Aug. 25, 2014.
A woman sits with a baby in the West Point area that has been hardest hit by Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia, on Aug. 25, 2014.   (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
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