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Ebola numbers soar in last three weeks

The World Health Organization's (WHO) Ebola virus disease update for Aug. 28 notes that more than 40 percent of all cases in the West African outbreak have been reported in the past 21 days. Through Aug. 26, the four nations with illnesses have reported 3,069 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola. A total of 1,552 patients have died from their illnesses.

Church members pray as the pastor speaks about the Ebola epidemic during a Sunday service at his church on August 24, 2014 in Dolo Town, Liberia
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

The overall mortality from this Ebola outbreak is 52 percent. The WHO notes that the disease has taken a toll on health care providers in the region. At least 240 medical personnel have contracted Ebola and at least 120 have died from it.

Liberia has experienced the greats growth in the number of Ebola cases in the last three weeks. Its count has exploded, growing from 554 illnesses to 1,378. The country has reported 824 new cases in less than a month.

Sierra Leone has the second highest number of reported Ebola illnesses, with 1,026 through Aug. 26. Its total grew by 309 cases in the past three weeks.

Guinea, where Ebola was first discovered, reported just 153 new illnesses since Aug. 6. The latest total for the county is 648 cases.

The illness appears contained in Nigeria, where Ebola was introduced by an infected traveler in late July. Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American who was working for the Liberian government, flew to Lagos despite being ill. Since his death, 16 people contracted the viral illness and five of them have died.

Secondary transmission of the illness in Nigeria has been seen with the illness of two members of families of persons Sawyer had contact with initially. AP is also reporting that there may be two more Ebola cases, with one death, outside of Lagos. The news agency reports that an individual who had contact with Sawyer fled Lagos to the south and then became ill. A physician treating that patient is reported to have died.

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