World Health Organization says Spread of Ebola is Slowing in Liberia

Last week Mali became the sixth West African country to report a case of Ebola. (Photograph: Daniel Irungu/EPA)
Last week Mali became the sixth West African country to report a case of Ebola. (Photograph: Daniel Irungu/EPA)

Liberia, the country worst hit by the Ebola epidemic, may be seeing a decline in the spread of the virus, although the battle to contain the outbreak is far from won, the World Health Organization said yesterday.

WHO assistant director general Bruce Aylward said the number of burials and new admissions had fallen and there was a plateau in laboratory-confirmed cases.

“All the data point in the same direction,” he said. “Do we feel confident that the response is now getting an upper hand on the virus? Yes, we are seeing slowing rate of new cases, very definitely.”

Mr Aylward cautioned against overly optimistic conclusions but said: “We’re seeing a reversal of that rapid rate of increase to the point that there seems to be a decline right now.”

Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said this month there were early signs the outbreak might be “in decline”.

Mr Aylward said the fresh information could be attributed to the wrong factors and misunderstood. “Getting a slight decrease in the number of cases on a day-to-day basis, versus getting this thing closed out, is a completely different ball game.”

US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said governments who made commitments to help fight Ebola should deliver on their pledges and those yet to commit should do so.

Ms Power said she was encouraged by progress in the last couple of weeks, and that the two most critical remaining challenges are to fill gaps in the delivery of people and resources and to fight fear, misinformation and stigma.

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SOURCE: Irish Times

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