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Latest Ebola outbreak ends in Sierra Leone

BBC
Sierra Leone Health Minister, Abu Bakarr Fofanah
Sierra Leone Health Minister, Abu Bakarr Fofanah

(elbcradio.com/Mar. 17, 2016)-Sierra Leone's Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Thursday that the recent flare up of the Ebola virus disease has ended.

The declaration came 42 days, two 21-day incubation cycles of the disease, since the last confirmed Ebola patient, who was a secondary case of the flare up, tested negative for a second time.

In a statement, read over the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, the Minister of Health, Abu Bakarr Fofanah, thanked the people, on behalf of President, Ernest Bai Koroma, for the success in combating the “scourge."

He said since the first virus’ outbreak in Zaire in 1976, there have been 40 outbreaks worldwide with 35 recorded in Africa, except for South Africa, which experienced only one outbreak. Minister Fofanah said each of the countries have had more than one outbreak of the virus.

He cautioned that though Sierra Leoneans should be happy about the end of the virus, they must avoid complacency, quoting experts as saying the risk for the virus to resurge again is high.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference this morning by the WHO and the Health Ministry, with the both entities described the occasion as another "milestone" in the country's effort to defeat Ebola.

The WHO commended the Government, partners and the Sierra Leonean people on the "effective and swift response" to the latest outbreak.

The WHO's Country Representative in Sierra Leone is continuously stressing that Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are "still at risk of Ebola flare ups, largely due to virus persistence in survivors" and request that they remain on the alert.

Dr. Anders Nordstrom admonished Sierra Leoneans to "ensure that existing early warning systems and the capacity already in place are maintained and strengthened."

The epidemic, which first erupted in Guinea in March 2014, ended up crossing over to Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing over 11,000 people in the sub-region and claiming the lives of 3,590 people, including 222 healthcare workers, in Sierra Leone.

 


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