LIBERIA said on Saturday it had just five remaining cases of Ebola, confirming it is close to eradicating an epidemic which has left thousands dead.
The worst outbreak of the virus in history has seen the west African nation and its neighbours Guinea and Sierra Leone register almost 9,000 deaths in a year, although experts believe the real toll could be far higher.
“We have five confirmed Ebola cases in Liberia as of today,” assistant health minister Tolbert Nyensuwah told AFP.
He said three of the cases were in the capital Monrovia, while the others were in the northwestern counties of Bomi and Grand Cape Mount.
“It means that we are going down to zero if everything goes well, if other people don’t get sick in other places.”
The announcement has not been verified by World Health Organisation (WHO) officials, whose statistics often differ from the tallies of individual countries.
The Liberia development comes in the wake of the announcement Monday by WHO that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the deadliest ever, had been basically contained.
At the same time “the outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria are pretty much contained,” WHO said in a statement. Senegal has not reported any new cases of the deadly virus since it registered its first and only case on August 29—a Guinean student who has since recovered.
And Nigeria, where 21 people have been infected, eight of whom have died, has not reported any new cases since September 8, WHO pointed out.