…until Liberia is “Ebola free.” As long as the World Health Organization plays by the same rules they set out at the beginning (that is, needing to pass two incubation periods (or 42 days) to pass from the time the last case posed an infection risk), Liberia will reach the Ebola free milestone on May 9. The WHO has been hedging a little bit since there is active transmission in the two neighbors (Guinea and Sierra Leone) and there is some evidence that survivors can carry reserves of the virus (in semen and vitreous fluid…weird combo, isn’t it?) for 90+ days, but we hope they’ll follow their own guidelines so that we can get on with our lives.
Keeping with this transitional phase of being almost done, the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU) closed on April 30. This was the Ebola Treatment Unit built by the U.S. Government and staffed by the U.S. Public Health Service (who have cool uniforms, by the way) to treat any health care worker or Ebola responder who contracted Ebola Virus Disease. They treated just over 40 patients, 18 of whom actually had Ebola. Nine of these survived. Once discharged, they put their handprint on a sign just outside the MMU as a testimony to their survival.
The phrase at the bottom of the sign is a play on Liberia’s motto: The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here.