Ebola 'Turning Point' as Cases Decline: WHO

Jan. 22, 2015 -- Ebola cases are falling in the three hardest-hit West African countries and the outbreak has reached a "turning point," according to the World Health Organization.

In Liberia, only eight cases were detected last week, compared with a peak of 500 a week in September. New Ebola cases in Guinea are at 20 a week, compared to a peak of 292, and new cases in Sierra Leone are at 117 a week, compared with a peak of 748, BBC News reported.

The latest numbers are the "most promising" since the start of the outbreak, the WHO said. However, it urged caution and emphasized the need to find people who've had contact with Ebola patients.

"The incidence is pretty clearly going down in all three countries now," Dr. Christopher Dye, director of strategy in the office of the WHO's director general, told BBC News. "Each of the last three weeks has been the most promising we've seen so far, the message is reductions in all places."

"I would have identified the turning point as the beginning of the decline, first in Liberia and then later in Sierra Leone and Guinea," he added.

The Ebola outbreak has infected 21,724 people and killed 8,641, with most cases and deaths occurring in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, BBC News reported.