Scientists think they may be close to eradicating the virus entirely after ending a quarantine.
Is the Ebola epidemic finally over in Liberia?
The mandatory surveillance period of 166 people who were considered at risk of catching Ebola has ended, meaning that the country has taken a big step forward to declaring an end to the epidemic, according to a Reuters report.
That’s big news, because Liberia had been declared Ebola free twice, once in May and once in September, and then suddenly new cases popped up. Liberia was one of three countries hit by the epidemic along with Sierra Leone and guinea.
The contacts who had been placed in quarantine were healthcare workers who were treating the last case that had cropped up, or were the family of the victim. Fortunately, after 21 days, no one was showing symptoms, indicating that there is no one known to have the Ebola virus at this point.
A total of 4,800 people died in the outbreak in Liberia alone. There were 11,300 total victims shared between the three victims. Now, officials are hoping third time is the charm in declaring the virus eradicated from the country.
Sierra Leone has already officially ended its epidemic in November. Guinea has also sent home its last patient.
In a statement titled “The Road to Zero,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said back in July that despite the heavy decline in cases, the agency is still working today on all three of the most affected countries.
“The recent reports of new cases in Liberia confirms that the world cannot let down its guard,” the statement reads. “The ongoing Ebola epidemic demonstrates the importance of worldwide preparation before the next health crisis, whenever or wherever it might be. The CDC’s Global Health Security Agenda calls for systems, policies and procedures to be in place around the world to prevent outbreaks as an essential step toward keeping the world safe and secure from global health threats. To support this goal, CDC has established country offices in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.”