Liberia, the country at the heart of the Ebola epidemic, may soon be able to declare it's free of the deadly disease.
After months of trying to contain the virus, the country currently has no confirmed Ebola patients. If no new cases are discovered in the next month, Liberia will be able to officially say it’s Ebola free — a designation given 42 days after the last new Ebola infection, twice the normal incubation time for the disease.
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The milestone may only signal temporary, though significant, reprieve. With two neighboring countries still fighting the disease, there is the possibility that the disease could pop up in the country again. However, the announcement marks a notable achievement in the country’s fight against Ebola, which has killed 10,000 in West Africa since the epidemic broke out a year ago.
Liberia's final patient, Beatrice Yardolo, a 58-year-old teacher, was discharged on Thursday.
"I am very grateful to the Chinese treatment center and the Almighty God that I lived to see this day. I did not know I would make it,'' she said, according to Reuters. After caring for a child ill with Ebola — three of her five children died from the disease — Yardolo contracted the disease and was taken to the treatment center in mid-February.
Yardolo lives in the St. Paul's Bridge suburb of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital and one of the final Ebola hot spots in the country.