Ebola: First optimism in Liberia

Ebola: First optimism in Liberia

Cautious optimism in the fight against the Ebola epidemic

Although the Ebola epidemic in the West African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone can by no means be assessed as having been overcome, the UN Special Representative Dr. David Nabarro of growing confidence and increasing self-confidence among the local population. Last but not least, the emerging optimism is based on the successes to be seen in the fight against epidemics. The World Health Organization (WHO) recorded the lowest number of new Ebola infections since summer 2014 in Guinea and Liberia.

"In the past few weeks we have seen a big change, a feeling of self-confidence, a feeling that (Ebola) can be beaten," said Dr. Nabarro in a current press release from the United Nations (UN). According to the UN communication, the noticeable changes started in Liberia at the beginning of December. According to the WHO, the number of new infections in the West African country fell from more than 300 confirmed cases per week in August and September 2014 to eight confirmed cases in the past week. It is not without reason that Liberia is confident that it will soon have overcome the epidemic. The situation is currently different in Sierra Leone, where 184 new Ebola infections were registered by the WHO last week.

First successes are noticeable According to the WHO, there are now sufficient treatment capacities available to treat Ebola patients in Liberia, as well as in Guinea and Sierra Leone. However, there is sometimes an uneven geographical distribution of beds and cases, which can lead to difficulties on site. Overall, however, the patient's care situation has improved significantly. A safe and dignified burial of all deceased is also guaranteed. In addition, in most cases the contact persons or other potentially infected persons are identified and monitored. According to Dr. Nabarro, however, still found gaps. Not all contact persons are always identified and consistently monitored. In addition, sometimes not all contacts of Ebola patients can be determined. In many cases, this is real detective work, Dr. Nabarro.

Vigilance and discipline still required Despite the noticeable successes in Liberia and the tentative optimism, the UN Special Representative continues to call for “vigilance and discipline.” This is the only way to ensure that the disease is completely eradicated. An end to the Ebola epidemic is not yet in sight in Sierra Leone. In the past three weeks alone, 769 new infections were found here. Sierra Leone is now the most affected country with more than 10,000 infections and more than 3,000 deaths, even though Liberia has had a total of around 3,500 Ebola deaths over the past year. According to the WHO, 21,261 people worldwide had been infected with Ebola by January 11, and 8,414 people had died as a result of the infection. (fp)

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