Guinea declared Ebola free by WHO

Guinea declared Ebola free by WHO

EBOLA 29 DECEMBER 15 by JAMES TEMPERTON
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-12/29/guinea-ebola-virus-free

Guinea has been declared free of Ebola by the World Health Organisation (WHO), two years after the epidemic began in the west African nation.

The disease killed 2,536 people in Guinea, with 9,000 more losing their lives in Sierra Leona and Liberia. The Guinean government plans to mark the apparent eradication of the disease from the country with a concert in the city of Conakry on Wednesday, the New York Times reported.

The Ebola crisis in Guinea began in December 2013 in the southern town of Gueckedou. It was from there that the disease travelled to neighbouring Sierra Leona and Liberia.

A total of 11,315 people are thought to have lost their lives to Ebola: 4,809 in Liberia, 3,955 in Sierra Leone, 2,536 in Guinea, eight in Nigeria, six in Mali and one in the USA.

This is the first time that the original chains of Ebola transmission have been stopped in all three of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The latter two countries have been Ebola free since November and September respectively.

The WHO said 42 days had passed since the last person confirmed to have Ebola tested negative for a second time. Baby Noubia, Guinea’s last known Ebola patient, was released from hospital in late November.

Guinea is now in a 90-day period of heightened surveillance to identify and isolate any new cases of the disease before they spread.

“As we work towards building resilient health care systems, we need to stay vigilant to ensure that we rapidly stop any new flares that may come up in 2016,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.

Aside from the original chain of transmission ten “small” outbreaks have taken place between March and November 2015. The WHO said these appeared to have been caused by the er-emergence of the virus in the survivor population. Ebola can survive in the semen of male survivors for up to 12 months, the organisation said.

WHO Ebola response representative Dr Bruce Aylward said the coming months remained “absolutely critical” for the fight against Ebola.

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