More than 3,000 people have died as a result of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In its latest report, the UN's health agency said there had been a total of 3,133 confirmed deaths and over 6,500 people had been infected with the virus so far.
But it added that the available figures for cases and deaths are likely to “vastly underestimate the true scale of the epidemic”, and that the number of cases are growing “exponentially”. Estimates released on Tuesday suggest that as many as 1.4m people could be infected by the end of January under a worst case scenario.
The outbreak began in Guinea in February and has since spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal. Liberia has been the worst affected of all the countries, reporting an estimated 1,830 deaths to date.
Yesterday, WHO released a statement saying current heath facilities were unable to cope with the number of infected people and as a result routine ailments could not be treated at hospitals.
“The current situation is so dire that, in several areas that include capital cities, many of these common diseases and health conditions are barely being managed at all,” it said.
The Ebola virus, for which there is currently no licensed vaccine, has been described by US President Barack Obama as a "threat to global security".