An outbreak of Ebola that has claimed over 8,400 lives in West Africa appeared to be slowing down, the UN special envoy on Ebola said on Friday.
“The change in behaviour that we’ve been hoping for, working for, anticipating, is now happening everywhere.
“The facilities to treat people are available everywhere.
“Safe burial teams are providing safe and dignified burial services everywhere and the result is that we’re seeing the beginning of the outbreak slowing down,’’ David Nabarro told newsmen.
Nabarro declined to predict when the outbreak of the virus could be definitively over.
The hemorrhagic fever is spread through contact with bodily fluids of infected people or the highly contagious body of someone who has died of the virus.
Nabarro said burial practices that involved people touching and cleaning bodies of Ebola victims had helped fuel the outbreak.
“It is an incredible drop, a remarkable collective change in patterns of behaviour.
“Liberia had come to terms with the reality that the outbreak of Ebola is being driven by the way in which people behave,’’ Nabarro said.
More than 3,500 of the 8,400 dead were from Liberia.
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea now have capacity to quickly set up mobile centres to handle localised outbreaks.
He said the U.S., British and French military, which built treatment centres, had played a crucial role.
“This external help was absolutely vital in bolstering and supporting the capacity of the people in the country to make the changes,’’ Nabarro said.
According to the World Health Organisation, the worst Ebola outbreak on record infected about 21,200 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since it was detected in March.
The government of Liberia had earlier said that it could be free of the virus by the end of February after success in curbing transmission.
It said the country had only 10 confirmed Ebola cases as of Jan. 12.
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