Ebola Rates Are Falling in Liberia, and No One Knows Exactly Why

People walk past a billboard encouraging people suffering from symptoms linked to Ebola to present themselves at a health facility for treatment in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. While the Ebola virus outbreak has now reached four countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone account for more than 60 percent of the deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The outbreak that emerged in March has claimed at least 932 lives. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)
Photo: Michael Duff/? Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Treatment centers in Liberia that were once overrun with Ebola patients are now half empty as far fewer people appear to be contracting the disease than was initially expected. Fewer than half the treatment beds in the country were occupied with patients, and tests for the virus have been coming back negative at increasing rates. The turn of events has some experts cautiously optimistic, though others warn that celebrating the end of an epidemic too early could simply lead to another deadly outbreak.

The numbers are decreasing, but we don’t know why,” a spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders told the New York Times.

At the very least, this means the steps taken to curb the epidemic are working. Since the beginning of the outbreak, Liberia has focused on educating its citizens about the risk of infection, “from posters and billboards to messages broadcast when residents make phone calls.”

It’s way too early to declare victory against Ebola in Liberia, but at least we’re finaly getting some good news.


Ebola Rates Drop in Liberia Without Explanation