Health workers carry buckets of disinfectant at the newly-constructed Island Clinic and Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia, September 25, 2014. REUTERS/James Giahyue
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Deaths from infectious diseases like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia are likely to soar in West African countries where a vast outbreak of Ebola has crushed health systems and killed nurses and doctors.Specialists on deadly diseases say deaths from malaria alone, which even before the Ebola crisis killed around 100,000 a year in the West Africa region as a whole, could increase four-fold in Ebola-hit countries as people miss out on life-saving treatments. The United Nations health agency says at least 208 health workers in the region have been killed by Ebola, from a total of 373 so far infected with the virus.Jimmy Whitworth, the Wellcome Trust's head of population health, said the crisis might cause malaria deaths to quadruple to around 400,000 in the coming year, with patients too afraid to come to clinics for fear of contracting Ebola, and therefore not getting anti-malarial drugs and care.
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