FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

WHO: Ebola outbreak in Liberia has ended

Liberia's most recent Ebola death occurred 42 days ago. | Courtesy of sciencedaily.com
The World Health Organization said that as of Saturday, the Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia has ended, 42 days after the most recent laboratory-confirmed Ebola victim died.

Liberia had the highest death rates during this outbreak, the first since the virus was discovered in 1976. The country also endured the longest, largest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history. During August and September of 2014, which was the peak of virus transmission, there were approximately 300 to 400 new Ebola cases reported each week in Liberia.

Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, took the brunt of the outbreak. The city locked gates to treatment centers that overflowed. Patients died on the hospital grounds, and sometimes it took days for response units to collect the bodies. Fuel and food diminished, and flights were canceled. Businesses, schools, borders and many health facilities closed.

It took only a short time before all of the 15 counties in Liberia reported Ebola cases. Eventually, the country ran out of beds for Ebola patients, and because corpses and infectious patients were forced to stay in communities and homes, more infections were nearly guaranteed. Health professionals warned that the outbreak may reach endemic proportions.

Doctors, nurses, the Liberian government and its citizenry made the difference. Even when protective equipment, supplies and training fell short, health care professionals continued caring for Ebola patients. Approximately 375 health workers contracted Ebola infections; 189 of those workers died.

Organizations in this story

World Health Organization 20 Avenue Appia Geneva, GE 01202

Get notified the next time we write about World Health Organization!