Bernice Dahn

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Celebrations erupted Saturday in Monrovia after Liberia was declared Ebola-free. Credit Ahmed Jallanzo/European Pressphoto Agency

On Saturday, the World Health Organization declared Liberia to be Ebola-free, recognizing that there had been no new cases since the end of March. While its neighbors Sierra Leone and Guinea still wrestle with this virologic demon, this is a moment for reflection and cautious optimism in Liberia. The world must ensure that what happened in Liberia never happens again — there, or anywhere.

Only eight months ago, the most tragic scenes were still unfolding in Liberia, one of the three countries hardest hit by the outbreak. Newly built treatment centers sat empty while bodies of the dead, and nearly dead, lay in the streets.…  Seguir leyendo »

Yes, We Were Warned About Ebola

The conventional wisdom among public health authorities is that the Ebola virus, which killed at least 10,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, was a new phenomenon, not seen in West Africa before 2013. (The one exception was an anomalous case in Ivory Coast in 1994, when a Swiss primatologist was infected after performing an autopsy on a chimpanzee.)

The conventional wisdom is wrong. We were stunned recently when we stumbled across an article by European researchers in Annals of Virology: “The results seem to indicate that Liberia has to be included in the Ebola virus endemic zone.” In the future, the authors asserted, “medical personnel in Liberian health centers should be aware of the possibility that they may come across active cases and thus be prepared to avoid nosocomial epidemics,” referring to hospital-acquired infection.…  Seguir leyendo »