Liberia's Last Ebola Patient Discharged from Center
By Samwar Fallah
March 05, 2015
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MONROVIA, Liberia — Beatrice Yardolo marked a major milestone in Liberia's fight against the deadly Ebola virus Thursday by becoming the country's last confirmed case discharged from a hospital.
The 58-year-old teacher said her care "has been so intensive that today I am standing here, so I am very grateful."
As she was released from a Chinese-run treatment center, she thanked her doctors, nurses and God.
Yardolo said three of her five children died from the virus before she became ill and was taken to the treatment center on Feb. 18.
"Ebola had passed by us, but in January and February, three of our children were taken away by the virus," she said. Yardolo was taking care of her ill daughter and therefore had bodily contact with her. "I came down with the virus," she explained.
Tolbert Nyeswah, assistant health minister who heads Liberia's response to the virus, said Yardolo was diagnosed Feb. 19, and has been the last confirmed patient with the virus since then.
He said 214 people are being monitored for possible exposure and are undergoing surveillance and contact tracers. Liberia has had no new cases in the past 13 days.
"This does not signify that Ebola is over in Liberia," Nyeswah said. "What we know is that 13 of the 15 counties have gone more than 42 days without cases of Ebola."
More than 4,100 people have died from Ebola in Liberia. Nearly 10,000 people have died since the outbreak began in December 2013, most in the three West Africa countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday said Liberia has gone a week without reporting any new cases, the first time since May, but 132 new cases were identified in Guinea and Sierra Leone in the week leading up to March 1.
On Thursday, the WHO announced a vaccine efficiency trial will be begin Saturday in Guinea.
"We have worked hard to reach this point," said Margaret Chan, the organization's director-general. "If a vaccine is found effective, it will be the first preventive tool against Ebola in history."
Yang Haiwei, head of the Chinese medical team managing the facility where Yardolo was treated, said, "This victory may be only temporary, but it is still a milestone."
The United States, the European Union and other international partners have all pledged to help support Liberia's recovery process after Ebola.
President Obama met last week with Liberian President Ellen Johnson at the White House and offered to continue assisting Liberia in its recovery. The U.S. had deployed nearly 3,000 troops to help Liberia battle the disease.
Secretary of State Kerry cautioned that more work is needed.
"Our job is not yet done, and neighboring countries like Guinea and Sierra Leone are still somewhat behind the progress that's been made in Liberia," Kerry said.