The number of Ebola deaths in the three West African countries hardest hit with the virus has jumped by 99 in the past two days, bring the total death tally since the outbreak started almost to 8,000 (7,989), according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) update today.

Public domain image/Mondo Magic
Public domain image/Mondo Magic

The number of total cases increased by some 200 bringing that total to 20,381.

Following on the prediction of Ebola “discoverer” Dr. Peter Piot a week ago that the largest known outbreak of Ebola would last through 2015, a second Ebola expert offered a somewhat similar prediction.

The outgoing head of the UN’s Ebola team, Anthony Banbury stated that the outbreak would be brought down to zero by the close of this year, according to a BBC report today.

Banbury called the fight against Ebola in West Africa an “epic battle”.

“Going forward it’s going to be extremely hard for us to bring it down to zero [cases], but that is what we will do,” he told reporters, adding: “I believe we will end Ebola in 2015.”