10/29/2014 09:58 EDT | Updated 12/29/2014 05:59 EST

Ebola death count likely exceeds 5,000, WHO says

The Ebola death toll is likely over 5,000 out of 13,703 cases worldwide, the World Health Organization says.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO assistant director-general in charge of the operational response, gave the update to reporters on Wednesday.

In Liberia, there are signs of progress, such as decline in burial numbers and lab-confirmed cases that appear to have plateaued, Alyward said. That could be thanks to the right information getting to people to change their behaviour and protect themselves and safe burials.

While he’s confident that they’re seeing a slowing in the rate of new cases, the danger is that instead of  cases going down steadily, they start to oscillate up and down, for example, if burials go wrong and start new chains of transmission, he warned.