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Liberia declared Ebola free; gives fresh hope to Guinea, Sierra Leone

Ebola outbreak in Liberia
epaselect epa04343455 Liberian nurses carry the body of an Ebola victim on the way to bury them in the Banjor Community on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, 06 August 2014. According to statistics from the United Nations over 900 people have died from the Ebola outbreak making it the worst ever in history. EPA/AHMED JALLANZO

Liberia has been declared Ebola free and giving fresh hope to Africa, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Meanwhile, there were nine fresh cases reported in Sierra Leone and Guinea in the week that ending on May 3 this year. This marks a significant decrease from the number of cases reported weekly in May of 2014.

Liberia has now become the first of the three West African nations to be ravaged by Ebola to completely eradicate the disease. The World Health Organization, or WHO, has confirmed the good news. This brings to an end the 15-month long epidemic though there is a risk that new cases will crop up in the future.

Nearby Sierra Leone and Guinea, however, continue to struggle to bring the disease under control.

Experts around the world have applauded Liberia for its relentless efforts in fighting the menace and have acknowledged that for the past 15 months the country has worked towards eradicating Ebola virus tirelessly.

On March 27 this year the last person died due to Ebola in Liberia. As far as authorities know over 44 days there has been no deaths from ebola in Liberia. This in itself speaks volumes about the country’s efforts in eradicating the spread of the Ebola virus.

Elsewhere, the efforts of outbreak response teams in regions like Forécariah, western Guinea, Kambia, a region around Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, is helping to gradually get things under control. With the area under Ebola’s impact getting reduced day-by-day, there is a growing sense of relief among experts and residents.

The risk, however, remains as borders are porous and people who are infected can easily travel, resulting in new outbreaks. The on-goingthe ongoing rainy season could make the efforts put in to curb Ebola challenging. This is because dirt roads can turn into swamps, denying health professionals access. Meanwhile, unsafe burials can also result in people coming in contact with infected corpses. The WHO has warned that these conditions point towards the transmission chains being a massive challenge. If these challenges are overcome by Sierra Leone and Guinea then these two may also soon be declared Ebola free by WHO.

A health worker carrying out rescue efforts at one of the Ebola hit areas

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