Ebola Cases In Liberia Possibly Declining But Defenses Must Remain High, WHO Says

News outlets discuss how the number of Ebola cases is possibly declining in Liberia, but the trend does not necessarily signal a slowing of the epidemic, according to a WHO official.

Agence France-Presse: Ebola cases slow in Liberia, but too soon to celebrate: WHO
“The rate of new Ebola infections appears to be slowing in hard-hit Liberia, but the crisis is far from over, according to the World Health Organization…” (Larson, 10/29).

Associated Press: WHO: Ebola decline in Liberia could be real trend
“…The disease is still raging in parts of Sierra Leone and there is still a risk that the decline in Liberia won’t be sustained, Dr. Bruce Aylward, an assistant director-general for WHO, warned reporters…” (DiLorenzo/Cheng, 10/29).

Deutsche Welle: Possible decline in Ebola cases in Liberia
“…Aylward added that experts would be checking to ensure the latest data was not down to cases going unreported…” (10/29).

New York Times: Ebola Slowing in Liberia, WHO Says, but International Support Is Still Necessary
“…At least 13,703 people have been infected by the virus, all but 27 of them in the three worst affected countries, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, according to the latest estimates cited by Dr. Aylward. Nearly half of the total is in Liberia…” (Cumming-Bruce, 10/29).

Reuters: Ebola appears to be slowing in Liberia — WHO
“…The WHO comments were echoed by Jeremy Farrar, director of charitable foundation the Wellcome Trust. He too urged caution and said the next few weeks will be crucial to locking in potential gains made through increased international support…” (Miles/Nichols, 10/29).

ScienceInsider: Liberia’s Ebola progress real, but epidemic far from under control
“…The apparent decline in cases could mean that families are hiding patients and secretly burying the dead, but it is more likely that a combination of factors has reduced the spread of the disease, said Aylward…” (Cohen, 10/29).

U.N. News Centre: Signs of Ebola decline in Liberia offer ‘glimmer of hope’ — U.N.
“…[Aylward] stressed that ‘a slight decline in cases on a day to day basis versus getting this thing closed out is a completely different ball game.’ ‘Am I hopeful?’ Dr. Aylward said. ‘I am terrified that the information will be misinterpreted. It’s like saying your pet tiger is under control,’ he told reporters. ‘This is a very, very dangerous disease’…” (10/29).

Washington Post: Rate of new Ebola infections in Liberia is slowing, WHO says
“…On Wednesday, Aylward said that the empty beds in existing Ebola clinics are ‘absolutely’ needed still and that there are no plans to reduce capacity at this time. He said that it is normal to shuffle resources from one hot zone to another as an epidemic spreads but that it is too soon to let down defenses…” (Sun, 10/29).

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