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WHO Provides Update on Ebola Outbreak, Warns Against False Treatments

Fri, 15 Aug 2014 18:30:20 +0000

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The World Health Organization released an update on Friday acknowledging about 150 new cases of Ebola and nearly 100 more deaths after saying on Thursday that the existing figures may have "vastly underestimate[d] the magnitude of the outbreak."

On Friday the WHO acknowledged again that their numbers still were unlikely to paint a final picture of the degree to which the disease has spread. After airlines expressed concern over the possibility of air travel being a high-risk activity for the transmission of the disease, the United Nations health agency noted,  yet again, the that disease cannot be transmitted through the air and simply traveling on a plane with an individual who has Ebola would not put passengers or crew at a severe risk.

The WHO also released a country-by-country breakdown of the outbreak, which noted 152 new cases and 76 new deaths within the last two weeks. In total, the agency says there have been 2,127 cases of Ebola and 1,145 deaths.

The release also paralleled a U.S. Food and Drug Administration release from Thursday, which warned consumers about the danger of products marketed on the Internet that claim to treat or prevent Ebola. The WHO notes a pair of people in Nigeria who died after drinking salt water, which was rumored to be protective against Ebola.

"Decades of scientific research have failed to find a curative or preventive agent of proven safety and effectiveness in humans," the WHO said, "though a number of promising products are currently under development."

Even those products, however, are far from ready for widespread use in humans.

"Evidence of their effectiveness is suggestive, but not based on solid scientific data from clinical trials," the WHO noted. Pointing out that the safety of using experimental drugs is not known, and while they have approved the use of the experimental drug in exceptional circumstances, supplies are limited or exhausted.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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