Liberia, Mali see crucial gains in Ebola fight

2014-11-11 15:51
File: AFP

File: AFP (Isaac Kasamani)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Monrovia - Liberia has announced a dramatic drop in new Ebola infections as Mali prepared to lift quarantine restrictions on dozens of people put at risk of exposure to the deadly virus.

Liberian assistant health minister Tolbert Nyenswah said new cases had dropped from a daily peak of more than 500 to around 50, confirming tentative announcements by experts worldwide of an apparent slowdown in the epidemic.

"It's not the number of Ebola cases we were reporting two months ago... The numbers of cases are reducing," he told AFP late on Monday, adding however that there were still new cases emerging across the country.

The largest Ebola outbreak on record has killed at least 5 000 people, with Liberia hit hardest and the contagion still raging in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Frequent stops

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said late on Monday that it had released from isolation 25 of more than 100 people thought to have come into contact with Mali's sole case.

The victim, a two-year-old girl from Guinea, was diagnosed with Ebola after journeying to the western town of Kayes on 23 October and died the following day.

The toddler had travelled by bus and taxi with her grandmother, sister and uncle, making frequent stops on a trip of more than 1 200km.

They also spent two hours in the capital, Bamako, visiting relatives in a house of 25 people.

'Growing confidence'

When Malian authorities became aware of the case, they mounted an emergency response helped by the WHO, US experts and several aid organisations, identifying 108 contacts.

These included fellow bus passengers found as far away as France and Senegal, and 33 health care workers, the WHO said in a statement.

"Of the 108 contacts, 25 have been followed for 21 days and have been released from the surveillance system," it added.

"Seventy-nine contacts were at the hospital where the child was treated and in the Kayes community. All have been monitored.

"To date, no one has shown signs of Ebola or tested positive for the disease."

Abdoulaye Nene Coulibaly, a doctor in the medical team sent to lead the response, said everyone in isolation in Kayes would be released on Tuesday if they were still showing no symptoms.

"The grandmother of the deceased child is doing well. Everyone else too," he told AFP.

"We took every precaution to assist those under observation, and in reality all the way through the girl's journey contagion risks were very low."

The WHO said there was growing confidence that Ebola would not spread within Mali, adding that the toddler "had haemorrhagic symptoms but no diarrhoea or vomiting during her travels".

New York doctor cured

There was good news in the US too, where health officials said a New York doctor who became America's last known Ebola case had been cured.

Craig Spencer, 33, contracted Ebola while caring for patients in Guinea. He is due to be discharged from the hospital Tuesday.

"After a rigorous course of treatment and testing, Dr Craig Spencer - the patient admitted and diagnosed with Ebola disease virus at HHC Bellevue Hospital Center - has been declared free of the virus," officials said in a statement.

The US has treated nine victims of the virus, which spreads through contact with infected bodily fluids.

The US government has been at the forefront of the international response to the outbreak, committing hundreds of millions of dollars and announcing plans for Ebola treatment units across Liberia.

The first US-built centre opened on Monday in Tubmanburg, around 70km northwest of Monrovia.

Gorbee Logan , a health officer for the area, put the drop in cases down to efforts to raise awareness of Ebola within communities across the country and better investigation of outbreaks.

"A lot more case-finding, contact-tracing, case investigation and surveillance activities - all of these have helped," he said."

The claim chimes with the advice of global medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders, which has called for a more localised response to the epidemic, favouring deployment of rapid response teams to new outbreaks over the construction of large centralised medical units.

Read more on:    who  |  liberia  |  guinea  |  sierra leone  |  mali  |  west africa  |  health  |  ebola

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.