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Ebola Virus Africa Outbreak: Liberian President Says Ebola Could Become a Global Crisis

First Posted: Sep 02, 2014 03:08 PM EDT

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said that officials in Africa have begun to think about the ongoing Ebola outbreak as a world problem, rather than a localized issue.

The deadly virus, which began earlier this year in Guinea and has spread to four other countries in West Africa, has killed more than 1,500 people since March, according to a report from CNN.

More than 3,000 people have been infected, making this the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history. Last week, Senegal became the fifth country in West Africa with reported cases of Ebola, which has also affected Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

"People now don't see this as a Liberia or West Africa crisis," Johnson Sirleaf said. "It could easily become a global crisis. We need that hope, we need that assistance. We need for the Liberians to know that this war can be won."

The president has called on other African nations and the international community to continue to help fight the disease, which has no known cure. African countries in proximity to affected nations are hesitant to help, as they wish to avoid an outbreak in their respective countries.

In a rare bit of good news concerning Ebola, Johnson Sirleaf lifted a quarantine issues on the Township of West Point, which is in the Liberian capital of Monrovia. She said the quarantine was lifted "based on the advice of authorities of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, as well as consultants with local and international partners."

Johnson Sirleaf did extend on Monday the stay-at-home order for all nonessential government workers for another month, indicating conditions remain serious. That order went into effect on July 30.

Last week, the World Health Organization said that they worried Ebola could infect as many as 20,000 people before it was under control, according to USA Today. WHO officials also laid out a plan to contain the virus, calling on hundreds of health workers to come help in West Africa.

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