WHO Declares Liberia Ebola Free For Third Time

The World Health Organization (WHO) Thursday, January 14, declared Liberia Ebola free for the third time.
Making the declaration at the Ministry of Health in Monrovia, WHO Country Representative Alex Gasasira commended the Government and people of Liberia, communities, health workers and partners for the successful response to the latest outbreak of Ebola.

He noted that the rapid cessation of the flare-up is a concrete demonstration of Liberia’s strengthened capacity to manage Ebola outbreaks.

“We very much hope it will be the last, but given the tenacity of the Ebola virus, there is a real risk of additional flare-ups,” he added.

Gasasira further applauded the Liberian Government for developing a national policy that will ensure that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) survivors have access to medical and psychosocial care.

According to him, this policy which has been developed will assist EVD survivors to reintegrate into family and community life, reduce stigma and minimize the risk of the Ebola virus transmission.

He said the WHO appreciates the continued generous and most valuable technical, financial and logistical support that the international community has always provided to Liberia.

The announcement of Liberia as an Ebola free country comes 42 days after the last Ebola case was contained without evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus.

On November 19, 2015 Liberia’s Ebola-free status was for the second time jeopardized by the emergence of three new cases in the Du-port Road Community in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

A 15-year-old boy who was identified as the index case was later pronounced dead by health authorities.

A massive contact tracing initiative launched by the Health Ministry identified 152 contacts, 25 of whom were healthcare personnel, all of whom were later declared Ebola free after 21days of observation.

The November 19, 2015 outbreak brought to four the number of successive waves of the hemorrhagic Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) the nation has witnessed since it first surfaced in the country in March 2014.

Liberia’s quest to become an Ebola-free nation was for the first time hampered on March 21, 2015 after a woman in the Cardwell community tested positive of the Ebola Virus following sexual intercourse with a male Ebola survivor.

After a 42 day countdown and the declaration of Liberia as Ebola free on May 9, 2015, the trend of infection was reintroduced on June 29, 2015 after a 17- year-old boy in lower Margibi County tested positive of the virus.

The nation was declared Ebola free for the second time on September 3, 2015 by the WHO after a successful fight to contain the virus which has since killed over 11,000 people in the three Mano River Union countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and 4,800 people in Liberia alone.

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