The US military is preparing to withdraw all but 100 of the 2,800 troops it currently has deployed to West Africa in response to the Ebola epidemic, the Pentagon has announced, Aljazeera reports. In a statement on Tuesday, spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said “nearly all will return by April 30″. US officials said Washington was ready to scale back its five-month mission in Liberia and Senegal in the coming weeks, as officials believed the crisis had largely been contained.

The news came a week after The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the number of new Ebola cases had risen for first time in 2015 in all three of the hardest hit countries of West Africa. In the first week of February, Sierra Leone recorded 80 of the 124 new cases of the disease confirmed; Guinea accounted for 39 cases; Liberia five.

The US development came at the mid-way mark of the Guinea government’s 60-day target to eradicate Ebola completely, an aim hampered, said health agencies, by local resistance to containment efforts.

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