Liberia has been declared Ebola-free again on Thursday by the World Health Organisation, a fourth time after the first outbreak of the disease in the country in 2014.
“This announcement comes 42 days (two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus) after the last confirmed Ebola patient in Liberia tested negative for the disease for the second time,” the WHO said in a statement.
We are conducting awareness campaigns to the general public on how to avoid a new resurgence. This campaign will continue, and we will always be ready to contain any new outbreaks.
It added that the country is now in a 90-day surveillance period to ensure that any new cases are identified quickly and contained before spreading.
The WHO Representative in Liberia, Dr Alex Gasasira, commended Liberia on their effective response to the most recent re-emergence of the disease.
“WHO will continue to support Liberia in its effort to prevent, detect and respond to suspected cases,” he said while cautioning Sierra Leone and Guinea as well to remain vigilant as “the risk of additional outbreaks from exposure to infected body fluids of survivors remain”.
The head of communications of Liberia’s Ministry of Health, George Sorbor, told AFP that the country is embarking on public campaigns to contain any new resurgence.
“We are conducting awareness campaigns to the general public on how to avoid a new resurgence. This campaign will continue, and we will always be ready to contain any new outbreaks,” he said.
Liberia has witnessed more than 10,600 cases and 4,808 Ebola deaths since it was first announced in March, 2014.
Transmission of the virus was first declared over on May 9, 2015, but the disease re-emerged mid-way through the 90-day surveillance period with six cases.
On September 3, 2015, the country was declared free of the virus transmission for the second time. Two-months after the declaration, another case was found in a 10-year-old boy who lived in a suburb east of the capital Monrovia.
Liberia was again declared free of the Ebola virus on January 14 only for the country to be gripped by fear after the death of a thirty-year old woman on arrival in a hospital near Monrovia on April 1. She was confirmed to have died from the Ebola virus.
Sierra Leone declared the end of Ebola human-to-human transmission on March 17, 2016 and Guinea on June 1, 2016 following the last flare ups.