A team transports a corpse for burial near an Ebola treatment center in Suakoko, Liberia, Oct. 5, 2014.
A team transports a corpse for burial near an Ebola treatment center in Suakoko, Liberia, Oct. 5, 2014.  Daniel Berehulak—The New York Times/Redux

Ebola Death Toll Surpasses 5,000 Worldwide

Nov 13, 2014

More than 5,000 people have died from the Ebola virus, marking a macabre waypost that coincides with the disease's return to Mali and a pickup in its spread in Sierra Leone, according to a status update released Wednesday by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Ebola has killed 5,160 out of 14,098 people infected across eight countries, according to the group’s most recent update, which presents an uncertain stage — dented with disappointments but also peaked with some bright points — in its effort to bring the Ebola outbreak under control.

In one hopeful sign, the rate of Ebola transmission is no longer increasing at a national level in Guinea and Liberia, though some areas of both countries are still seeing an escalation.

Ebola in Sierra Leone for the Washington Post
VIEW GALLERY | 11 PHOTOS
Pete Muller, Aug. 26, 2014. Sengema, Sierra Leone."The rain started shortly after a small team of Red Cross burial workers approached the body. The deceased man, reportedly in his mid-sixties, collapsed and died outside his remote home more than a day before the burial team arrived. Having received instructions from officials that bodies of Ebola victims are extremely contagious, his family members placed a sheet over his body, marked a cordon in the sand, and called the Red Cross. With approximately 20 burial workers serving all of Kailahun district, an area the size of Rhode Island and rife with Ebola, the team had a backlog of cases. His family endured the presence of his body, laying prone and exposed to the elements, for more than 24 hours. As the team removed the sheet, the stench of death filled the air. The white cloth around the man’s head was crimson with blood. As burial workers sprayed him with chlorine, family members erupted with emotion. I was moved imagining how I might respond if I were in the situation. To me, this picture represents the range of Ebola’s emotional impact. In the two women, we see the devastation and loss that the virus causes. In the faces of the men, we see a sense of despondence, disbelief and suspicion that also defines the response. It was a difficult but necessary picture to make."Pete Muller—Prime for the Washington Post
Ebola in Sierra Leone for the Washington Post
Body removal team preps a body to be removed from the West Pont facility.
Idrissa-koruma, a 35 year old man, the husband of Baindu-koruma a 28 year old woman, grives her death of Ebola deadly virus.
Liberia Battles Spreading Ebola Epidemic
Benedicte Kurzen, September 2014."From early morning till late in the afternoon, we followed the Liberian Red Cross. They have a list of people who died and they go to their communities to collect the bodies. Every time the Red Cross workers do the same thing: they wear protective clothing, interview the family, spray the perimeter and the room, and the body. They carefully open the body bag, carry the body outside for pick up — sprayers and volunteers facing each other — and later remove their protective clothing as carefully as they can. Their work is measured, slow: any direct contact with the dead person's body can be dangerous. In this photo, it is all about the gesture. In this chlorinated, silent corridor, there is little else that can convey humanity besides this gesture. This is one human helping another."
Dominique Faget, Aug. 26, 2014. Bandor, near Monrovia, Liberia. "I went with a team from the Liberian Red Cross to Bandor from Monrovia to pick up five dead people who had been infected with the Ebola virus. After photographing the removal of three bodies, including a young pregnant woman, I followed the team to a small cottage house where we had heard the bodies of a dead couple were. Once there, one of the Red Cross team responsible for the removal of their bodies gestured to me, patting his heart — indicating that these people were still alive. I then approached and photographed this man lying silently in the doorway of his home. I wondered how many days this poor sick man, like hundreds of others, had been waiting alone?
Ahmed Jallanzo, Aug. 20, 2014. Monrovia, Liberia."Violence had broken out in the slum township of West Point as the government tried to quarantine tens of thousands of residents in order to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. As I walked through the town to cover the reactions of residents towards security forces, I saw 15-year-old Shakie Kamara bleeding profusely, a pool of blood forming around him, with his right hand placed underneath his broken leg to keep it in balance. He was caught in clashes with police and had been shot. The ambulance service was somewhat slow to respond as he repeatedly cried for help. The tragic irony is that no one dared try to help for fear of contracting the Ebola virus from his blood and bodily fluids, as avoiding contact is one of the measures of preventing the disease from spreading.
Tommy Trenchard, Aug. 20, 2014. Monrovia, Liberia.
EBOLASTAFFING
Sylvain Cherkaoui, April 19, 2014. Gueckedou, Guinea."Doctors Without Borders sent me to Guekedou Forest in Guinea to cover the current Ebola crisis. After receiving an alert a team of doctors went to look for a woman who was exhibiting symptoms of the Ebola virus. When one doctor took her temperature, it was confirmed: she was infected and had to be admitted to the care center. After donning protective gear, I followed her into the field hospital and took this picture when health care workers told Finda that she had Ebola. What I did not know was that she had an extremely high viral concentration. The next morning, members of her family came to visit. Not long after, maybe minutes later, a nurse told me that Finda had died during the night. It happened so fast, I was shocked and deeply moved."
Pete Muller, Aug. 26, 2014. Sengema, Sierra Leone."The rain started shortly after a small team of Red Cross burial workers ap
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Yet Sierra Leone, where 1,169 people have died, continues to weather “steep increases” in the number of cases, says the WHO. Some 421 new cases were reported in the nation in just one week in November alone.

And in Mali, which was thought to be Ebola-free after an infected toddler died there in October, at least one person has recently died from the virus, while two deaths are suspected to have also been from Ebola, according to the update. One of the suspected cases, a grand imam, was buried after a “ritual washing” and a funeral assembly attended by “many mourners,” the WHO says.

Meanwhile, the WHO has received just 49% of the $260 million it deems necessary to handle the Ebola outbreak, according to the group’s latest figures. Though an additional 15% of the total amount has been pledged to the organization, it is still wanting for 36% of the required sum.

Out of 4,611 hospital beds planned for Ebola treatment centers in the three hardest-hit West African nations, just 24% are operational, and only 4% of the some 2,636 beds planned for community care centers have been set up. Just 38% of the 370 or so burial teams the WHO plans to train are good to go.

Still, all districts in the affected countries are within 24-hour access of a laboratory clinic, and some 95% of people the WHO is monitoring for possible exposure are receiving daily communications, the organization says.

Read next: Ebola Treatment Clinical Trials to Start in West Africa

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