MONROVIA, Liberia, June 18 (UPI) -- The World Health Organization confirmed the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has risen to 337.
The haemorrhagic fever claimed its latest victims in the capital of Liberia, with seven Ebola patients in Monrovia dying over the weekend -- the first Ebola-related deaths the city has witnessed since the outbreak began spreading throughout West Africa earlier this year.
Liberia's Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah confirmed on Saturday that a nurse treating a family sick with the fever had contracted the virus and had died despite the early intervention of doctors at the state-run Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, just west of Monrovia.
No vaccine or cure currently exists for the flu-like virus which causes fever with chills, joint pain, muscle pain and chest pain.
Since it was first discovered in 1976, the disease has infected fewer than 2,000 people, mostly in the tropical regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. The virus resides in infected pigs, monkeys and fruit bats, and is transferred to humans. Some outbreaks have featured a 90 percent mortality rate. The fatality rate for the current outbreak sits just above 50 percent.
The recent deaths in Monrovia bring the death toll in Liberia to 24. The majority of victims have been in Guinea, where 264 have died. The virus has claimed the lives of 49 in Sierra Leone.