U.S. President Barack Obama is withdrawing most of the American troops sent to West Africa to combat the Ebola epidemic.
The United States deployed 3,000 personnel to set up Ebola treatment units and other infrastructure to fight the virus. Speaking Wednesday in Washington, Obama said because the troops were so effective, all but about 100 will return home by April 30.
He said 1,500 personnel have already returned.
The president said he wants to be clear that despite the troops returning home, the work of fighting Ebola is not done. He said the focus now is bringing the number of cases to zero, because "every case is an ember" that could restart the outbreak.
The U.S. troops remaining in West Africa are expected to work with Liberia's military, regional partners and U.S. civilians to continue fighting Ebola.
The worst Ebola outbreak in world history has killed almost 9,000 people. Cases in the three most affected countries — Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — have risen in the past two weeks after several weeks of decline.
Obama said nations cannot isolate themselves in the fight against the disease.
"We cannot build moats around our countries," he said. "We should instead make sure everybody has basic health systems."
He said such work is not charity, but is in the best interest of the United States.
The World Health Organization warns that challenges remain in bringing the number of cases down to zero and urged West Africans to maintain the measures used to stop transmission of the virus.