The Ebola scourge in West Africa may be seeing its last days especially in Liberia where reported cases have significantly reduced in the past month. Emerging reports suggest that the country could become Ebola-free as from next month when schools are also expected to re-open.

Authors of the scientific journal PLOS predict, in its latest issue, that this containment could easily materialize between March and June as new cases are expected to continue declining. However, the paper cautions that “continuing on the path to elimination will require sustained watchfulness and individual willingness to be treated.” Therefore, this news is only valid if current successes are sustained and careful protocols are adhered to, going forward.

“There are 10 confirmed Ebola cases as of the 12th of January 2015 in the whole of the country. My projection is that, if we do everything possible, we can reach zero by the end of the February,” Tolbert Nyenswah, Liberian Deputy Health Minister and head of the country’s Ebola taskforce recently disclosed.

Liberia remains one of the three West African countries hit hardest by the epidemic, with total casualty figures of 8,331 infections and 3,538 deaths. WHO officials confirm, however, that the number of cases in Liberia has been slowing significantly recently, halving every three weeks on average. Of the three countries hit the most, Liberia, to date, has had the most success containing the virus as only 2 out of 15 counties still have Ebola cases.

By rapidly moving to safer burial practices and adopting all other recommendations from experts, the country was able to stem the rate of infection after a few months of the outbreak. With this level of success, Liberia may become a model for Guinea and Sierra Leone to learn from.

Sierra Leone, which is still trying to scale up efforts to combat the scourge, has seen at least 10,124 cases and 3,062 deaths according to WHO figures from January 11. In Guinea, where the epidemic started, about 2,806 cases have been recorded with 1,814 deaths.

By Emmanuel Iruobe

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