The Ebola epidemic that ravaged West Africa for more than a year could be declared over in Liberia on Saturday, marking a major milestone for the hard-hit nation after a nightmarish period of death and fear that awakened the globe to a long-ignored virus.
Barring the unexpected, Liberia will mark 42 days since the last confirmed patient died. That is twice Ebola’s incubation period, so it’s unlikely that anyone else could have been infected with the virus.
The milestone will allow Liberia to celebrate how far it has come, as responders “really wrote a new book on how to deal with Ebola,” said D.C. resident Brett Sedgewick, who traveled to the country last fall as a technical adviser for Global Communities, an aid group aligned with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“At the same time, the virus has every ability to come back,” he said.