Ebola death toll “woefully underestimated”

Traditional burial ceremonies, a lack of health resources and misinformation among communities has spurred the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The death toll is rising and some believe even these horrendous figures may be understated.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 1,000 people have died from Ebola, and another 2,000 have been infected since the disease ran rampant in March this year. But Drew Hinshaw, a contributor for The Wall Street Journal, said: “It looks almost certain that the numbers provided by the World Health Organization … are woefully underestimated.”

Hinshaw was speaking on WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station this week.

On his recent trip to Liberia, Hinshaw “stumbled” across a village where 30 people had died from the disease. Their deaths had not been recorded, because they had not reported to hospitals for testing. The WHO has already admitted that the outbreak is worse than what has been reported  and Ebola has already been declared an “international health emergency”.

Hinshaw said that “Ebola has a double death toll” in Liberia, where fear of contracting Ebola at hospitals has led citizens to avoid medical treatment. As a result, people are now dying from Ebola as well as other diseases, such as malaria, that are endemic to the region.

You can listen to the full discussion here:

– Image via Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos/MSF