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Ebola epidemic in Liberia could end by June

Photodisc | Ryan McVay

Photodisc | Ryan McVay

While healthcare workers from around the world continue to work to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa, researchers are now predicting the Ebola epidemic could end by June in Liberia.

But the research, published in PLoS Biology, notes that this will only hold true if the current high rates of monitoring and hospitalization continue.

“What’s needed is to maintain the current level of vigilance and keep pressing forward as hard as we can,” said John Drake, an associate professor in the School of Ecology at the University of Georgia, in a news release.

The conclusion that the epidemic could end in Liberia by the middle of this year comes from a computer model used by Drake and his colleagues to assess a variety of factors including location, treatment, hospital capacity and safe burial practices.

To keep up with the current hospitalization rates, hospital beds will have to continue to be added at the current rate, TIME reported on the study. Between July and September, 300 new beds were provided in the country. That would mean that 85 percent of infected patients could be hospitalized.

However, if the number of beds does not increase at the same level, hospitalization rates could fall back to 70 percent, at which point the number of cases may begin to outpace health workers’ ability to contain the disease.

The U.S. has been believed to be free of Ebola since November 2014, and it is good to have some positive news from Africa even as the fight against the disease continues.

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