Liberia could be declared Ebola-free on Saturday

Liberian citizens and officials and international groups are hoping that no cases of Ebola virus disease appear before Saturday, humanitarian organization Plan International said Thursday.

The World Health Organization will declare the country free of the Ebola virus on Saturday because 42 days would have passed without any new cases being reported. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the last individual that was reported with the disease died on March 27. The CDC also said that contact tracing found no one who had been in contact with the individual showed any signs relating to the disease.

“The whole country and the region is holding its breath after almost a year of distress and fear,” Plan Liberia Country Director Koala Oumarou  said. “(Saturday) will be a symbolic day. Everyone is waiting for this statement that will mark the return back to normal life, fortunately just before the rainy season.”

The CDC said that 11,020 individuals have died across all affected countries since the beginning of the outbreak and the total number of confirmed cases reached 14,946 as of Sunday.

Plan International said that while the disease being eradicated in Liberia is cause for celebration, there is still work to be done to free Sierra Leone and Guinea of the disease.

The CDC said 18 cases in both Sierra Leone and Guinea were reported in the week leading up to Sunday.

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