The News Minute | February 07, 2015 | 07.20 pm IST
At least 3,600 children have been orphaned due to the Ebola outbreak in West African countries, the UN Children's Fund (Unicef) has said.
The Unicef said in a report Friday that the number covers those who have lost both their parents in the hardest-hit countries -- Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The Ebola outbreak that began in December last year has left almost 9,000 children with just a single parent and caused a further 3,800 to lose their main carer, Unicef added.
The agency also confirmed an earlier estimate that put the overall number of children who have lost at least one parent or main caregiver to the deadly epidemic at 16,600 in West Africa by mid-January.
"Since overcoming their initial fears and misconceptions about Ebola, families have been showing incredible support, providing care and protection for children whose parents have died," said Manuel Fontaine, Unicef's regional director for West and Central Africa.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently warned of an increase in cases of new Ebola infections in West Africa during the last week of January.
According to the latest WHO figures, the disease has now affected 22,525 people, with deaths reaching 9,004.
Ebola is a form of hemorrhagic fever, symptoms of which are diarrhoea, vomiting and bleeding. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, faeces or sweat. It can also be spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.