Finally, good news from West Africa concerning the deadly Ebola outbreak. Medical officials from the United Nations recently announced there are only five active cases of Ebola remaining in Liberia, and Medical Xpress described the announcement as the “clearest sign” that the outbreak of the virus in Liberia is about to see an end.
After months of struggle with history’s deadliest Ebola epidemic — last year, more than 9,000 deaths in West Africa were blamed on Ebola — medical workers are finally close to actually achieving control over the current outbreak of the disease, which has incessantly plagued the impoverished African nation for the past few months.
Bloomberg reported that Liberia has been one of the hardest hit countries in the disease-affected region, and family after family has been mercilessly destroyed. Patient zero — a two-year-old boy who lived near the Liberian border in neighboring Guinea before he died — was one of four members of his family who died from the lethal disease. Only the father survived.
The World Health Organization confirms that the last five cases of Ebola in Liberia are under constant observation, with patients currently receiving treatment from experienced medical workers. Lisa White, a spokeswoman for the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, urged residents and workers alike to remain vigilant “to make sure the good trend continues.”
Despite the significant decline in Ebola cases in Liberia, WHO’s Bruce Aylward, assistant director-general of the organization, reminded volunteers not to be complacent due to the positive numbers. He had also urged workers to remain as active in campaigning against the disease as before.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, Aylward said, “We are still in a very, very dangerous situation with this virus. Especially now… that we are heading into the rainy season very, very soon. That’s going to hit us in April, May, and that will make the response that much more complicated.”
Earlier this month, TIME reported on predictions made by scientists from the University of Georgia, who marked June 2015 as the end point of the Liberian Ebola epidemic. Scientists based their model of prediction on previous outbreaks, as well as statistical probabilities of the disease scattering to health workers, family members of the infected and those who participated in burying the previously infected.
The predictions, first seen as ambitious by some, may have actually over-extended the Liberian epidemic’s time span in their projections as the numbers of the infected have seen a significant decrease in the country over the past few weeks.
[Images from Indiatvnews.com and European Commission DG/Flickr]