Deadly Ebola could affect up to 20,000 people, say world health chiefs as they reveal there may already be 12,000 victims – four times the current estimate 

World Health Organisation delivers bleak assessment of African outbreak 
Number of infections already likely to be far higher than the reported 3,069
Death toll stands at 1,552, making West African outbreak the worst ever 
News comes as second strain is confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo 
Woman contracted virus from bush meat and passed it on to health workers
The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect more than 20,000 people, the World Health Organisation has revealed in a bleak assessment of the deadly disease.

The United Nations health agency issued plans to combat the outbreak in four West African nations – Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria – where it said the actual number of cases could already be two to four times higher than the reported 3,069. The current death toll stands at 1,552.

The news comes as a new outbreak was confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a pregnant woman contracted the disease from infected bush meat and passed it on to health workers.

Treatment: The World Health Organisation has revealed plans to combat Ebola in four West African nations – Guinea (pictured), Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria – where it said the actual number of cases could already be far higher than the reported 3,069. The death toll in the West African epidemic alone currently stands at 1,552

Grim: A group of young volunteers wear special uniforms for the burial of people in Kptema graveyard in Kenema, Sierra Leone earlier this week. The victims’ bodies are sterilized after dying from the virus
Describing plans to tackle the West African outbreak, the WHO said: ‘This roadmap assumes that in many areas of intense transmission the actual number of cases may be two-four fold higher than that currently reported.’

‘It acknowledges that the aggregate case load of Ebola Virus Disease could exceed 20,000 over the course of this emergency,’ the agency added. 

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