WHO Declares Ebola Over In Africa; Warns Flare-Ups Likely To Re-Occur

Posted: Jan 15 2016, 7:32pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Ebola free
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone free from the deadly Ebola epidemic that ravaged the region between 2014 and 2015; warning however that vigilance and surveillance must remain in place because there could be unexpected flare-ups here and there.

Liberia was declared free of Ebola in May 2015, but the disease resurfaced twice after this and a third one announced in November. However, WHO announced the country is free from the disease after the mandatory 42 days of no incidents in the country. The last patient tested negative twice.

WHO Representive in Liberia, Dr. Alex Gasasira, commended WHO and the Liberian government for their quick and effective response to the Ebola plague, saying the instant ability to arrest the epidemic in its tracks is demonstrative of the government’s resolve to end the disease. He noted that WHO will continue to support Liberia as it continues to prevent, detect, and respond to new suspected cases.

Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free on November 7 last year and Guinea on December 29, 2015. Since the disease broke out in the three countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, this is the first time in 42 days that no reported cases have been recorded anywhere.

“Detecting and breaking every chain of transmission has been a monumental achievement,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “So much was needed and so much was accomplished by national authorities, heroic health workers, civil society, local and international organizations and generous partners. But our work is not done and vigilance is necessary to prevent new outbreaks.”

WHO does not rule out the chances of Ebola resurfacing in the three countries ever again – after all, about 10 flare-ups have been witnessed in the three countries since they were first thought to be free of the epidemic.

Furthermore, scientific proofs state patients can be cured of Ebola, but the virus lives on in the semen of some male survivors for as long as a year, and there have been one or two cases where patients transmitted the disease sexually to their wives.

“We are now at a critical period in the Ebola epidemic as we move from managing cases and patients to managing the residual risk of new infections,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO’s Special Representative for the Ebola Response.

“The risk of re-introduction of infection is diminishing as the virus gradually clears from the survivor population, but we still anticipate more flare-ups and must be prepared for them. A massive effort is underway to ensure robust prevention, surveillance and response capacity across all three countries by the end of March,” Alyward added.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/52" rel="author">Charles I. Omedo</a>
Charles is covering the latest discoveries in science and health as well as new developments in technology. He is the Chief Editor or Intel-News.

 

 

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