The African nation of Liberia, now considered to be the epicenter of the West Africa Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, is the first country to reach and exceed 1,000 cases, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) today.

Ebola virus Image/CDC
Ebola virus

Between 19 and 20 August 2014, a total of 142 new cases of Ebola virus disease (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 77 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone with Liberia accounting for 110 and 48 cases and deaths, respectively.

To date, Guinea, the country where the outbreak had its genesis, has reported 607 cases and 406 deaths. Liberia is now at 1,082 cases and 624 deaths, Sierra Leone has seen 910 cases and 392 deaths and Nigeria is reporting 16 cases and 5 fatalities.

This brings the outbreak total to 2,615 cases and 1,427 deaths. This case count is higher than the number of cases seen in every Ebola outbreak since 1976 (2,405).

Despite the enormity of these numbers, the WHO says these number are underestimated, particularly in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The reasons for this is multi-fold–keeping infected family members at home, the denial of Ebola, corpses are buried with no notification or investigation and the existence of “shadow zones”, or  villages with rumors of cases and deaths, with a strong suspicion of Ebola as the cause, that cannot be investigated because of community resistance or lack of adequate staff and vehicles. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page