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More than 20,000 people have been infected by the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea alone, WHO says.

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More than 20 , 000 people infected by the deadly virus , and at
least 7 , 842 recorded deaths , WHO says .
More than 20 , 000 people have been infected by Ebola in
Sierra Leone , Liberia and Guinea since the outbreak of the
virus began, the World Health Organisation has said .
The WHO said in a statement on Monday that there have
been 20 , 081 cumulative cases of infection in the three worst
hit countries , and more than 7 , 842 Ebola – related deaths
recorded .
The virus is still spreading intensely in Sierra Leone , the
organisation said , with 315 new confirmed cases reported in
the week to December 21 . These included 115 cases in the
capital Freetown .
In Guinea , 156 confirmed cases were recorded during the
same period , ” the highest weekly case incidence reported by
the country in this outbreak “, it said .
In Liberia , where case incidence has been declining for the
past month , 21 cases were reported in the week to December
21 .
Five additional countries – Nigeria , Senegal , Mali, Spain and
the US – have had imported cases and are included in the
global toll .
The virus spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids
of an infected person showing symptoms
such as fever or vomiting . People caring for the sick or
handling the bodies of people infected Ebola are especially
exposed .
As of December 21 a total of 666 healthcare workers were
known to have contracted the virus , and 366 of them had
died , according to the WHO .
The Ebola epidemic , which claimed its first victim in Guinea
exactly a year ago, is likely to last until the end of 2015 ,
according to Peter Piot, a scientist who helped to discover the
virus in 1976 .
No cure or vaccine is currently available for Ebola , with the
WHO authorising the use of largely untested treatments in
efforts to combat the disease.

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