Africa: Ebola Is Not Over Yet

Friday, February 27, 2015
By Paul Martin

By Liesl Louw-Vaudran
27 FEBRUARY 2015

The announcement by Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that children will be returning to school, and that borders with neighbouring countries will reopen, comes as a huge relief to everyone around the world alarmed about the Ebola outbreak. At one stage last year, some thought that it would take much longer – even up to the end of 2015 – for the epidemic to start slowing down.

In Liberia, once the epicentre of the disease, only 10 people are now being treated for Ebola and there has been only one new case in the seven days up to 22 February. This is certainly good news, but in neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone infection rates have been going up for the past three weeks. There have been 35 new cases in Sierra Leone and 63 in Guinea in the week up to 22 February, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation.

Even in Liberia, aid workers warn that one new case means there is still an outbreak and that emergency measures need to stay in place. ‘It’s the 101 of managing outbreaks,’ says Jens Pedersen, Humanitarian Policy Advisor at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Johannesburg. ‘We must be very cautious of talking about zero infections in the next two weeks,’ Pedersen told ISS Today earlier this week.

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