The data includes confirmed, suspected and probable cases recorded in Guinea Conakry and Sierra Leone until December 31 and in Liberia until December 28.

The country most severely affected by the epidemic is Sierra Leone, where 9,633 infections and 2,827 deaths have been reported, followed by Liberia with 8,018 infections and 3,423 deaths.

Meanwhile, in Guinea Conakry, there were 2,730 infections and 1,739 deaths recorded in 2014.

This is the worst Ebola epidemic since the virus was discovered in 1976, approximately 100 km from the Ebola river in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Italian Ebola patient 'completely healed'

An Italian doctor who contracted the deadly Ebola virus in Africa has been "completely healed" after being treated with experimental drugs in a Rome hospital, Italian health authorities announced on Friday.

Fabrizio Pulvirenti, 50, was working with an Italian medical aid non-governmental organisation to combat the Ebola disease in Sierra Leone, where he contracted the virus and was flown back to Rome on November 25.

Emanuele Nicastri, a doctor at the Lazzaro Spallanzani Hospital in Rome, where the patient was treated, attributed the success to "extraordinary team work", media reported.

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