Ebola kills 2,300, nearly half of deaths in past 21 days: WHO

A street artist, Stephen Doe, paints an educational mural to inform people about the symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus in the Liberian capital Monrovia, on Sept 8, 2014. The Ebola epidemic in west Africa has claimed nearly 2,300 lives, the World Hea
A street artist, Stephen Doe, paints an educational mural to inform people about the symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus in the Liberian capital Monrovia, on Sept 8, 2014. The Ebola epidemic in west Africa has claimed nearly 2,300 lives, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (AFP) - The Ebola epidemic in west Africa has claimed nearly 2,300 lives, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, stressing that nearly half had died in less than a month.

As of September 6, 2,288 people had died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia out of 4,269 cases, the UN's health agency said. A full 47 per cent of the deaths and 49 per cent of the cases had come in the prior 21 days, it said.

The countries bearing the brunt of the epidemic are among the world's poorest, with dilapidated medical infrastructures buckling under the strain. Liberia has been by far the hardest hit by the epidemic, which since it began in neighbouring Guinea at the beginning of the year has ballooned into the deadliest

Ebola outbreak the world has ever seen. It alone accounts for half of all cases and counts a full 1,224 deaths - 62 per cent of them since mid-August.

WHO warned Monday that Liberia would likely face "many thousands" of new infections in the next three weeks.

Guinea meanwhile counts 555 deaths, while the deadly virus has claimed 509 lives in Sierra Leone, WHO said.

Another eight people have meanwhile died in Nigeria out of 21 cases, while one case of Ebola has been confirmed in Senegal, WHO said.

On Friday, the UN agency had put the overall death toll from the raging epidemic in the five countries at 2,105 out of 3,967 cases.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is meanwhile facing its own outbreak of a separate strain of Ebola, one of the deadliest viruses known to man. That country, where the virus was first identified in 1976, said at the weekend that it so far had registered 32 Ebola deaths and 59 likely or confirmed cases.