Liberia was first declared free of human-to-human Ebola transmission in May, 2015, only to see the fever resurface six weeks later. It was officially credited with beating the epidemic for a second time in September, 2015. In a fresh development, Liberia has released its last two known Ebola cases from hospital and started the countdown to being declared free of the virus for a third time, revealed authorities.
The patients were released from a treatment unit (ETU) in the capital Monrovia.
‘Liberia has released its last two known Ebola cases from hospital. The patients' recovery has triggered a 42-day countdown before Liberia can be declared free of transmission for a third time.’
Tolbert Nyensuah, head of the country's Ebola response, said, "As far as we know (there is) no case in the ETUs in the entire republic of Liberia. We also know that there is no new known transmission as of today, based on our epidemiological investigations."
Nyensuah said 165 potential contacts of the family - 34 of them high-risk - are going into the third week of the 21-day observation period, with none showing signs of illness.
Liberia was the last country affected by the two-year west African outbreak, with Sierra Leone declared free of transmission in November 2015 and Guinea's last known case recovering two weeks ago.
The patients' recovery triggered a 42-day countdown - twice the incubation period of the virus - before Liberia can be declared free of transmission for a third time.
Ebola has left more than 11,300 people dead since December 2013 in its worst ever outbreak. Liberia has registered almost 10,700 cases and more than 4,800 deaths.