Just five confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease remain in Liberia, a West African country that has seen more than 3,600 deaths from the outbreak of the deadly virus, Reuters quoted a senior health official as saying Friday.
“It means that we are going down to zero, if everything goes well, if other people don’t get sick in other places,”
said Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah, who leads Liberia’s Ebola task force.
Three of the remaining cases were in the capital city of Monrovia, and the other two were in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties. Liberia could be rid of the virus by the end of February, Nyenswah said. At the height of the outbreak in August and September, Liberia was recording more than 300 new cases of the virus every week – and experts at the time said even that figure was likely an underestimate of the disease’s true toll.
Now there are now just five people in the country being treated for Ebola, Tolbert Nyenswah, who heads the country’s Ebola response, said Monday. Three of them are in Monrovia and two are in Grand Cape Mount County, near the Sierra Leonean border. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is expected to address the deadly outbreak in her state of the nation address later Monday
Guinea and Sierra Leone, the other two countries most affected by Ebola, have also seen falling infection rates. As of last week, cases in Guinea dipped to 20 per week from a peak of 292 and cases in Sierra Leone dropped to 117 per week from a peak of 748, according to BBC News.
Speaking as the World Health Organisation (WHO) released figures showing a continuing fall in cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Liberia’s information minister, Lewis Brown, asked the international community to honour its financial commitments to the region and help it rebuild its shattered health systems.
While cases of Ebola in Liberia have fallen from a peak of more than 300 a week in August and September to eight last week, Brown said there was no room for complacency.
“This is a virus which, given our sociology and health infrastructure, could spread again very, very quickly. So we have to make sure that no one has any false sense that the hard work’s done,”
said Lewis Brown.
“It’s about literally rebuilding our health infrastructure and giving health workers the tools and the resources they need so we can deal with epidemics of this size should they ever occur. We don’t want to get rid of one epidemic and be waiting for the next one to happen.”