Liberia Now Ebola-Free, but Measles on Rise

Nation at center of epidemic has no new cases in 42 days
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2015 5:56 AM CDT
Liberia Now Ebola-Free, but Measles on Rise
This Sept. 18, 2014, photograph by New York Times photographer Daniel Berehulak shows a relative grieving near a Liberian Red Cross burial team.   (Daniel Berehulak, New York Times, Columbia University via AP)

The World Health Organization announced a welcome milestone in Liberia today: With no new cases in 42 days—twice the incubation period—the nation has been declared free of Ebola, reports the BBC. Last fall, Liberia saw 400 new cases every week. The disease remains active in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea, however. The three nations were at the epicenter of the recent outbreak that has killed 11,000 people, with Liberia seeing the worst of it.

Liberian health officials can hardly rest, though: NPR reports that measles cases are surging, with more than 500 cases this year alone. It's seen as a "direct result" of the Ebola epidemic, which caused a collapse in the nation's health care system. People stopped going to overwhelmed clinics, and childhood immunizations fell by the wayside. Whooping cough also is on the rise, for the same reason. (One Ebola survivor saw his blue eyes turn green.)

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