Conakry: The Ebola virus has claimed 72 lives in Guinea since January, according to a latest update from the health ministry of the West African country.
The figure builds on the previous toll of 61 announced April 19 by the authorities in Guinea, which has become the epicentre of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, Xinhua reported.
Sakoba Keita, the Guinean health ministry official leading the fight against the Ebola virus disease, said Friday that there are 115 confirmed cases of the deadly disease.
From April 17 to 24, Guinean disease treatment centres recorded six new dead cases, of which one was in capital Conakry and five in the southern Guekedou prefecture, said Keita.
The World Health Organisation said Thursday that the Ebola virus disease has killed 147 people in West Africa, where more than 240 cases have been recorded in Guinea and Liberia.
First discovered in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), the Ebola virus was named after the Ebola River where the DR Congo outbreak was found in a nearby village.
There is still no cure for the deadly Ebola virus disease which has an incubation period between two and 21 days and carries a fatality rate of up to 90 percent.
The WHO defines the Ebola virus disease, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, as "a severe, often fatal illness" and "one of the world's most virulent diseases."