The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced Monday that the death toll from the Ebola outbreak has reached 887. The last WHO report, issued July 31, recorded 729 deaths from the virus sweeping West Africa.
Since the outbreak began in Guinea six months ago, over 1,600 people have died. According to WHO, 358 of the deceased were in Guinea, 273 in Sierra Leone, 255 in Liberia, and there was one death in Nigeria.
The lone Nigerian death is Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American who died days after flying from Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria. On Monday, Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu confirmed that there is a second case of Ebola in Nigeria—the doctor who treated Sawyer contracted the virus.
Chukwu also said that three other health care workers who came in contact with Sawyer are exhibiting Ebola symptoms.
"Hopefully by the end of today we should have the results of their own tests," Chukwu said in a statement.
The deadly virus typically causes fever, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, joint pain, and other symptoms. The disease is transmitted by coming into contact with the bodily fluid of an infected person, or touching objects such as needles that have come into contact with infected bodily fluid. The CDC recommends proper sterilisation of medical equipment, and wearing protective clothing to decrease the chances of infection. However, even with these precautions, Ebola transmissions have been reported.
Dr Kent Brantly, medical director for the Samaritan's Purse Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia, treated Ebola patients while wearing protective boot covers, gloves, coveralls, and a face mask.
Samaritan's Purse spokesperson Melissa Strickland confirmed that Brantly followed all safety precautions.
"It's too early to try to explain it," she said of Brantly's mode of infection. "We will have an intensive and thorough investigation."
There is no cure for Ebola virus disease. The mortality rate of the current outbreak is 60 per cent.