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18 images that show just how hard it is to treat Ebola
Friday, August 15th, 2014

The catastrophic Ebola outbreak in West Africa was already dubbed the world's worst-ever way back in June. But since then, the spread of the viral disease has only gotten worse in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

The World Health Organization reported 1,975 cases and 1,069 deaths in those three countries and Nigeria as of Thursday. On Friday, media reports cited a new count by the WHO of 2,127 cases and 1,145 deaths in the four countries.

Ebola, a hemorraghic virus that has up to a 90 percent mortality rate, is strongest and most contagious in its later stages. That means that the bodies of those who have died from it are highly contagious, though the disease can only be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids. This has created a major obstacle for health workers attempting to control the disease, as some traditional burials involve washing corpses, putting surviving relatives at greater risk.

Of course, treating victims is also hugely difficult, as medical workers must take layers of precautions to avoid contracting the disease from sick patients. Those suspected of carrying the disease are being moved to isolation centers, while doctors treating patients are covered head to toe in protective gowns, masks, gloves and boots.

More from GlobalPost: Let these 20 nervous animals teach you the reality of the Ebola 'threat'

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A burial team from the Liberian health department sprays disinfectant over the body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia. Teams are picking up bodies from all over the capital of Monrovia, where the spread of the Ebola virus has been called catastrophic.

(John Moore - AFP/Getty Images)
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A nurse leaves an isolation room after checking a man on August 14, 2014 at the district hospital of Biankouma during a simulation organized by the Ivory Coast Health Ministry to train medical staff to treat potential patients with Ebola.

( - AFP/Getty Images)
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Government burial team members in Sierra Leone wear protective clothing as they disinfect a coffin at the Doctors Without Borders facility in Kailahun on August 14, 2014.

(Carl De Souza - AFP/Getty Images)
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A man lies in a newly-opened Ebola isolation center set up by the Liberian health ministry in a closed school on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.

(John Moore - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Doctors Without Borders medical worker wearing protective clothing throws contaminated items to be incinerated after handling the body of an Ebola victim in Kailahun, Sierra Leone on August 14, 2014. Kailahun, along with Kenama district, is at the epicenter of the world's worst Ebola outbreak.

( - AFP/Getty Images)
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A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows members of Doctors Without Borders putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated.

(Cellou Binani - AFP/Getty Images)
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A picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows protective gear including boots, gloves, masks and suits, drying after being used in a treatment room in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital of Monrovia.

(Zoom Dosso - AFP/Getty Images)
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A view of gloves and boots used by medical staff, drying in the sun, at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, Guinea on April 1, 2014.

(Seyllou - AFP/Getty Images)
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Children stand in a newly-opened Ebola isolation center set up in a school closed due to the epidemic on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. People suspected of contracting the Ebola virus are being sent to such centers in the capital Monrovia where the spread of the deadly and highly contageous Ebola virus has been called catastrophic.

(John Moore - AFP/Getty Images)
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A sick woman lies in a classroom now used as an Ebola isolation ward on August 15, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. People suspected of contracting the Ebola virus are being brought by Liberian health workers to the center, a closed primary school originally built by USAID, while larger facililities are being constructed to house the surging number of patients. The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 1,000 people in four West African countries.

(John Moore - AFP/Getty Images)
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A burial team from the Liberian health department enters a house to remove the body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia.

(John Moore - AFP/Getty Images)
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A burial team from the Liberian health department removes the body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus from her home in Monrovia.

(John Moore - AFP/Getty Images)
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A burial team from the Liberian health department prays before entering a house to remove the body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus.

(John Moore - AFP/Getty Images)
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A picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows staff of the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse putting on protective gear in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital.

(Zoom Dosso - AFP/Getty Images)
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Nurses take care of a man in an isolation room on August 14, 2014 at the district hospital of Biankouma, Ivory Coast, during a simulation organized by the health ministry to train medical staff to treat potential patients with Ebola.

(Issouf Sanogo - AFP/Getty Images)
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Doctors Without Borders staff carry the body of a person killed by viral hemorrhagic fever at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, Guinea.

(Seyllou - AFP/Getty Images)
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Workers build tents to treat Ebola patients on August 12, 2014 in Monrovia. Liberia is one of the countries hardest hit by the killer virus.

(Zoom Dosso - AFP/Getty Images)
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A picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows a staff member of the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse spraying a cleaning solution on the grounds outside the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia.

(Zoom Dosso - AFP/Getty Images)
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Health workers struggle to contain an outbreak.
Indonesia ramadan 2014 3
It's a lovely thing when shared traditions unite so many different people.