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BBC turns to WhatsApp to share Ebola information

Aimed at people in West Africa, the BBC will use the popular messaging app to provide updates about the spread of Ebola.

More than 8,900 cases of Ebola have been reported over the course of the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Centers for Disease Control

The BBC will use WhatsApp to share information about the spread of Ebola, the news outlet announced on Thursday.

Aimed at people in West Africa, the BBC will use the Facebook-owned messaging app to share public health information via audio, text messages and images, according to the news service. The BBC said it will limit its updates to three items per day and will serve them in both English and French.

The spread of Ebola has become a topic of huge concern around the globe. More than 8,900 cases of Ebola -- many of them in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- have been reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Ebola has also spread to the US, where the first diagnosis, death and retransmission of the virus happened in just the past few weeks. The World Health Organization warned Tuesday that worldwide infections could hit 10,000 new cases per week within the next couple of months.

Several health organizations are collaborating to combat Ebola's spread, and the BBC has stepped in to add another opportunity for news about the disease to reach the people it's affecting.

WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook earlier this year for $19 billion in cash and stock, though the value of the acquisition swelled to $22 billion due to a rise in Facebook's share price. WhatsApp is one of the world's most popular messaging application with over 600 million monthly active users.

The BBC's move is not unprecedented. The news service launched a similar "health information drive" in the 1980s and 1990s around the spread of HIV/AIDS.