"--IANS/EFE"
Geneva, July 11 (IANS/EFE) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said 21 more people have died from Ebola in West Africa over the past two days, bringing the total death count to 539.

In a statement, the UN body said 44 new cases had been detected over the same period, and added that the situation was worst in Sierra Leone and Liberia, with 35 new cases and 15 dead in the former and 11 cases and four deaths in the latter.

However, from July 8 to 10, only one new case was reported in Guinea, which suggests the epidemic is taking a downward turn in that country, said the WHO.

Overall, there have been 888 infections and 539 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The WHO has established a sub-regional control centre in Guinea to coordinate technical support to the affected countries and prevention in neighbouring nations.

This is the first time an Ebola outbreak in West Africa is confirmed, as the disease usually hit Central Africa.

WHO has activated the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) - a network of international agencies, governments, universities, and other institutions - and has asked experts in various areas to travel to the three affected countries to try to contain the outbreak.

The disease is transmitted through direct contact with blood and body fluids of infected people or animals, causing severe bleeding, high fever and damage to the central nervous system.

The mortality rate can reach 90 percent.

--IANS/EFE

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