Dakar – The World Health Organisation says the number of people believed to be suffering from Ebola has risen above 10 000.
The UN health agency said today that the number of confirmed, probable and suspected cases has risen to 10 141. Of those, 4 922 people have died.
WHO has repeatedly said that even those very high figures are likely to be underestimated as many people in the hardest hit countries have been unable or too frightened to seek medical care.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest ever outbreak of the disease. It has particularly affected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but there have also been cases in three other West African countries, Spain and the United States. Mali recorded its first case of Ebola on Thursday.
Mali authorities today scrambled to calm fears over Ebola after the disease claimed its first victim in the country, a contagious toddler who took a 1 000km journey on public buses before seeking treatment.
WHO warned that the situation in Mali was an “emergency”.
Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita aimed to ease fears after the death of the two-year-old girl, who travelled from neighbouring Guinea.
“We are doing everything to prevent panic and psychosis,” he said in an interview with French radio.
“Since the start of this epidemic, we in Mali took all measures to be safe, but we never hermetically sealed ourselves from this,” he said.