Ebola Death Toll Climbs to Nearly 7,000: WHO

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Protective suits are left to dry after an Ebola training session held by Spain's Red Cross in Madrid October 29, 2014. Susana Vera/Reuters

New data released by the World Health Organization on Wednesday reveals that 6,802 people have died from the Ebola virus.

There have been 16,169 suspected, probable or confirmed cases in the three West African nations most severely affected by the outbreak, according to the health agency. All but 15 Ebola-related deaths have taken place in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, reports NBC.

WHO cautions that its current figures may vastly underestimate the actual death toll from the deadly virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that the actual number is somewhere between two and four times the number published by WHO. Experts warn that infection rate statistics are of the utmost concern, however, because they represent how quickly the virus is spreading.

Of those three nations, Liberia has seen the sharpest increase in the death toll from Ebola, with more than 1,000 new occurences of the highly contagious disease since WHO published its most recent data last Wednesday. Liberia has also seen the most fatalities.

It remains unclear what's behind the recent increase in deaths, but a spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that the discrepancy may not have been due to a new outbreak, but rather to previously unreported deaths now being accounted for. Local authorities and agencies have not been equipped to handle the outbreak, and WHO has said that they haven't been able to process paperwork, including death certificates, as quickly as the statistics change.