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Updated: Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:52:39 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Ebola death toll surpasses 930 as WHO emergency meeting convenes



Volunteers lower a corpse, which is prepared with safe burial practices to ensure it does not pose a health risk to others and stop the chain of person-to-person transmission of Ebola, into a grave in Kailahun August 2, 2014. Hundreds of troops were deployed in Sierra Leone and Liberia on Monday to quarantine communities hit by the deadly Ebola virus, as the death toll from the worst-ever outbreak reached 887 and three new cases were reported in Nigeria. Picture taken August 2, 2014. REUTERS/WHO/Tarik Jasarevic/Handout via Reuters (© SIERRA LEONE - Tags: DISASTER HEALTH TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Volunteers lower a corpse, which is prepared with safe burial practices to ensure it does not pose a health risk to others and stop the chain of person-to-person transmission of Ebola, into a grave in Kailahun August 2, 2014. Hundreds of troops were deployed in Sierra Leone and Liberia on Monday to quarantine communities hit by the deadly Ebola virus, as the death toll from the worst-ever outbreak reached 887 and three new cases were reported in Nigeria. Picture taken August 2, 2014. REUTERS/WHO/Tarik Jasarevic/Handout via Reuters (SIERRA LEONE - Tags: DISASTER HEALTH TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTR41CHB Tarik Jasarevic/WHO/Reuters

Deaths from Ebola stand at 932 in four West African countries, the World Health Organization says Wednesday as it holds an emergency meeting to decide whether to declare the outbreak a global health emergency.

A total of 108 new cases and 45 deaths were reported between Aug. 2 and Aug. 4, the UN health agency said. Most of the newly reported deaths were in Liberia. In Nigeria, the number of cases increased from four to nine, including one previous death. Cases have also been seen in Sierra Leone and Guinea, where the outbreak originated.

At a two-day meeting, WHO officials are discussing how to contain the outbreak and whether to declare it a "public health emergency of international concern." Evidence of ongoing sustained human to human transmission is one of the key criteria that experts use to make the decision.

If so, it may entail border closures and even travels bans.

WHO said critical issues include:

- Cross-border infections and travellers.

- Stretched capacity and ability for partners to respond rapidly, safely and effectively.

- Socioeconomic impacts.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, two American aid workers who contracted Ebola in Liberia appear to be improving after receiving an experimental medicine ahead of their evacuation back to the U.S. It’s unknown whether the cocktail has helped.

In Saudi Arabia,  a 40-year-old man suspected to have contracted the Ebola virus after returning from Sierra Leone died , the country’s health minister said. If confirmed, it would be the first Ebola-related death outside of Africa.

A Nigerian nurse who treated a man with Ebola died and five others are sick after coming in contract with him, a health official said. The death of the unidentified nurse is the country’s second from Ebola.

In late July, Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old American of Liberian descent, flew from Liberia's capital to the Nigerian megacity of Lagos, introducing the virus there.

Experts say people infected with Ebola can spread the disease only through their bodily fluids and after they show symptoms.The incubation period can last up to 21 days.

Spain's Defence Ministry said Wednesday a medically equipped Airbus 310 is ready to fly to Liberia to repatriate Miguel Pajares, a Spanish missionary priest who has tested positive for the Ebola virus.

Pajares is one of three missionaries being kept in isolation at the San Jose de Monrovia Hospital in Liberia who has tested positive for the virus, Spain's San Juan de Dios hospital order, a Catholic humanitarian group that runs hospitals around the world, said Tuesday.

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