Experts from health organizations say that the West African region may finally be victorious in its battle against the Ebola epidemic, as the cases in Sierra Leone have reportedly decreased for the second week.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said that the number of declared cases of the disease in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the worst affected countries, are the lowest they have been in months. According to a new study published in PLOS Biology, the epidemic could end by June in Liberia, if more than 85 percent of those affected are to be hospitalized immediately. Those who don’t receive hospital care are likely to become sources of spreading the infection.
The development of the battle against Ebola seems to be going better than was previously hoped. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed back in September that by present time as many as 1.4 million cases would appear.
WHO reported on Wednesday that until today there have been 21,296 cases of Ebola infestations and 8,429 deaths. Officials are getting ready to begin trials for the first Ebola vaccines in Liberia, at the end of this month. In February, similar trials will be developed in Guinea and Sierra Leone.
At the height of the outbreak, in August, the Ebola virus infected over 300 individuals every week. Since then, the numbers have lowered to only eight cases per week. This month, there have been two days with no new cases declared. This makes the number of new cases the lowest it’s been since June.
The bodies of the people who die due to the virus are extremely infectious, thus, at the peak of the epidemic, Liberian officials ordered the cremation of the victims instead of burying them. This has been a highly criticized step, as African tradition puts great value on burying the bodies.
Because of the good evolution of the outbreak, state representatives from Liberia have now declared that cremations are no longer required. The victims of the Ebola virus are to be buried at a special 50 acre site, isolated from the general population.
Reports from the CDC have shown that great progress was also made in the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone.
Although these two countries have shown improvements in the Ebola outbreak, officials are continuing to worry about Guinea. There, the epidemic started more than a year ago and wasn’t brought to a halt due to their severely poor health system.
Image Source: Albuquerque Journal