Ebola cases hit 20,000, death toll nears 8,000: WHO

More than 20,000 people infected with the Ebola virus in the three worst-affected West African countries, according to the WHO

More than 20,000 people infected with the Ebola virus in the three worst-affected West African countries, according to the WHO

GENEVA - More than 20,000 people have been infected by the deadly Ebola virus in the three worst-affected West African countries as the death toll nears 8,000, the World Health Organization has announced in its latest update on the disease. 

The UN health agency said in statement on Monday that the Ebola outbreak had killed more than 7,842 people and 20,081 cases had been reported in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Sierra Leone had the highest number of Ebola cases of the three intense-transmission countries, with 9,409 cases having been reported to date. 

Liberia's death toll of 3,413 was more than the 2,732 recorded in Sierra Leone. 

In Guinea, 1,697 deaths have been reported out of 2,695 cases.

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Healthcare worker diagnosed with Ebola in Scotland

LONDON - A healthcare worker who recently returned from West Africa has become the first person diagnosed with Ebola in Scotland, the Scottish government said Monday.

The woman, who was not been identified, returned from Sierra Leone Sunday night, and was being treated at Glasgow's Gartnavel Hospital, the government said in a statement.

The patient was admitted to hospital early Monday after feeling unwell and was placed into isolation, the statement added.

All possible contacts with the patient were being investigated, it said, adding that since the patient was diagnosed in the very early stages of the illness, the risk to others was considered extremely low.

"Scotland has been preparing for this possibility from the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa and I am confident that we are well prepared," Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

"We have the robust procedures in place to identify cases rapidly. Our health service also has the expertise and facilities to ensure that confirmed Ebola cases such as this are contained and isolated effectively, minimizing any potential spread of the disease," she said.

The female patient was helping combat the disease in West Africa. She returned to Scotland from Sierra Leone Sunday night via Casablanca and London Heathrow, and arrived at Glasgow Airport on a British Airways flight at around 11:30pm local time, the statement added.

Although public health experts stressed the risks were negligible, a telephone helpline was set up for anyone on the Heathrow to Glasgow flight, it added.

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