" --IANS/EFE"
Geneva, Aug 21 (IANS/EFE) The death toll due to the Ebola virus continues to rise in West Africa and currently stands at 1,350, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

Of that number, 576 have died in Liberia where the outbreak is most severe and efforts to contain the virus are deemed most critical, WHO said in a statement Wednesday.

The toll in Guinea and Sierra Leone stands at 396 and 374, respectively, while four people have died from the disease in Nigeria.

The updated figures, based on information the WHO has gathered from health officials in the affected countries, show that the number of reported Ebola cases has climbed to 2,473, with Liberia (972) and Sierra Leone (907) accounting for the most cases.

In Guinea, where 579 people are said to be infected with the deadly virus, the rate of transmission has slowed thanks to an awareness campaign and other solutions which the WHO described as innovative.

The situation in Nigeria is stable with 15 reported cases.

The WHO also said it was carrying out a major communications campaign focused on companies and organisations that operate in Africa, an initiative prompted by some firms' decision to suspend service to the countries with reported Ebola cases.

It mentioned in particular the suspension of service by airlines and shipping companies, noting that the transport halt was triggering shortages of basic goods, including food and fuel.

The WHO and the World Food Programme, the UN's chief humanitarian arm, have launched an operation to supply food to one million people in four districts of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia that were recently placed under quarantine.

--IANS/EFE

ab/bg


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