Liberia Records No New Cases of EbolaMarch 5, 2015 in Ebola, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, West Africa
Liberia has released its last Ebola patient as the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the West African country has gone a week without reporting any new Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases.
Beatrice Yardolo, 58, has been released from a Chinese-run treatment centre in the capital Monrovia’s Paynesville district after receiving two weeks of treatment. She was the last patient undergoing treatment for the disease in Liberia.
According to new figures released by the WHO this week, there were 132 new cases reported in Guinea and Sierra Leone in the week leading up to 1 March. For the first time since May 2014, Liberia reported no new cases of the deadly virus. While the West African country has now effectively begun its count towards being declared Ebola-free, WHO officials have warned that due to populations being mobile in the region, there could easily be a new outbreak in Liberia. According to WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl, “we look at the three countries as really a single country, so while its good news that Liberia itself has no new cases, the populations are so mobile in that region that there could easily be re-importations of cases… We have to get down to zero in all three countries before we can consider the thing beaten.”
In the week leading up to 1 March, Sierra Leone registered 81 new confirmed cases, up from the 65 that were reported the week before. According to the WHO, transmission in the country “remains widespread,” with officials highlighting that new cases emerged in eight different districts across the country, with rising numbers in the capital city Freetown, as well as in the Western Rural district and in the northern district of Bombali. WHO officials have indicated that the outbreak in Bombali is reportedly linked to a cluster of cases in the Aberdeen fishing community in Freetown. Efforts are currently underway in order to trace over 2,000 contacts associated with that cluster.
Last week, Guinea registered 51 new confirmed cases of EVD, marking a significant increase from the 35 new cases that had been reported during the previous seven-day period. The country, which in total has recorded 3,219 cases and 2,129 deaths, also saw an increase in the number of new cases recorded in the capital city Conakry and in the nearby district of Forecariah.
The WHO has reported that over the past week, both Guinea and Sierra Leone continued to see high numbers of people dying of Ebola in their communities, “suggesting that the need for early isolation and treatment is not yet understood, accepted or acted upon.” More than half of the 32 confirmed Ebola deaths recorded in Guinea over the last week occurred in the community rather than in treatment centres, while 16 percent did in Sierra Leone. WHO officials have also noted that unsafe burials continue to be a problem in the two West African countries, with 16 registered in the last week.
Since the outbreak began in December 2013, 23,969 people in nine countries have been infected with the virus, and 9,807 have died.