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Ebola death toll hits 1,000 mark

West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone worst affected, with 1,848 already infected by deadly virus.

Last updated: 12 Aug 2014 09:53
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There were criticisms after the experimental drug was given to westerners working in Africa [EPA]

The Ebola virus has killed 1,013 people and infected another 1,848 across West African nations, latest World Health Organisation data shows.

The fatalities include 52 deaths recorded between August 7-9 in three countries at the centre of the epidemic - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to data released late on Monday.

During the period, Guinea reported six additional deaths and 11 new infections. Liberia had 29 more deaths and 45 cases while Sierra Leone saw 17 new fatalities and 13 cases.  

A Spanish priest named Miguel Pajares, 75, the first European infected by a strain of the virus died in hospital in Madrid, a spokeswoman for the city's health authorities said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the US has said that Liberia will receive enough of an experimental Ebola drug to treat just two infected Liberian doctors following the approvla of the drug's export by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Information Minister Lewis Brown said Liberia's Health Ministry had contacted the US manufacturer of ZMapp, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, and asked the FDA to quickly approve its export.

The doctors had consented in writing to the treatment, the minister said.

The use of the experimental drug on two Americans who contracted the virus while working in Africa has opened up an intense ethical debate.

The drug has shown promising results but is still in an early phase of development and had only been tested previously on monkeys.

ZMapp is in very short supply, but its use on Western aid workers sparked controversy and demands that it be made available in Africa.

"Is it ethical to use unregistered medicines to treat people, and if so, what criteria should they meet, and what conditions, and who should be treated?" said WHO assistant director-general Marie-Paule Kieny. "What is the ethical thing to do?"

Mapp Pharmaceuticals said it had sent all its available supplies to West Africa.

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