The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 603 since February, with at least 68 deaths reported from three countries in the region in the last week alone, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.WHO said there were 85 new cases between July 8-12, highlighting continued high levels of transmission. International and local medics were struggling to get access to communities as many residents feared outsiders were spreading rather than fighting Ebola. […]Sierra Leone recorded the highest number of deaths, which include confirmed, probable and suspect cases of Ebola, with 52. Liberia reported 13 and Guinea 3, according to the WHO figures.
Meanwhile, panic is rising in these countries; people in Sierra Leone set fire to a treatment center, in the belief that it was spreading the disease. Liberia’s president has made it a crime to hide Ebola victims, while Sierra Leone has also warned against concealing infected patients. Nearby countries are also terrified. The Ivory Coast has forbidden 400 of its citizens, who fled to Liberia, from returning lest they bring the disease with them. As the BBC notes, this contravenes both the Ivory Coast’s and international law. But as this outbreak grows worse and keeps spreading, it’s hard not to sympathize with the country’s fears.