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    Liberian women locally referred to as 'prayer warriors' celebrate in Monrovia, Liberia, after the WHO declared the country Ebola-free May 9, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 May 2015

Amid celebrations of the public health victory, health experts call for ongoing vigilence and attention to neighboring countries. 

Liberia was declared free of Ebola by the World Health Organization on Saturday after more than 4,700 people have died in the country's year-long battle against the virus.

Liberia has successfully had no new cases of Ebola in 42 days, twice the incubation period of the virus. However, neighboring West African countries Sierra Leone and Guinea have not contained the epidemic that has claimed some 11,005 lives in West Africa since December 2013, according to the WHO.

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The ongoing outbreak outside Liberia dampened the country's victory over the disease. Doctors Without Borders stressed the importance of continued caution in Liberia and attention to the epidemic's epicenter in neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said her country is not finished tackling Ebola and called for ongoing vigilance.

“The task is not yet over,” said Sirleaf in a speech. “The challenge is that we stay at zero.”

At the peak of the Ebola outbreak, hundreds of new cases were reported weekly in Liberia. Weak healthcare systems and structural shortcomings fueled the rapid spread of the disease.

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Liberia's national Ebola awareness and education campaign is considered to have been a crucial part of its victory over the disease.

Both Sierra Leone and Guinea have reported new Ebola cases in the past week.  

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