Sierra Leone declared free of Ebola virus
Nov 8, Freetown: Residents of Sierra Leone's capital have celebrated the end of an Ebola epidemic that has killed almost 4,000 people since it began last year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday declared that Ebola virus transmission has been stopped in Sierra Leone, as 42 days – two Ebola virus incubation cycles – have now passed since the last person confirmed to have the disease had a second negative blood test, and pledged continued support to the country towards the recovery of essential health systems.
Since Sierra Leone recorded the first Ebola case in May 2014, a total number of 8,704 people were infected and 3,589 have died, 221 of them healthcare workers, all of whom we remember on this day, said Dr. Anders Nordström, WHO Representative in Sierra Leone.
The country now enters a 90-day period of enhanced surveillance which will run until 5 February 2016, and WHO will continue to support Sierra Leone during this period. This new phase is critical for ensuring early detection of any possible new cases of Ebola virus disease.
Commending the Government of Sierra Leone and its people on achieving this significant milestone in the country's fight against Ebola, the UN health agency underscored that Sierra Leone had achieved this milestone “through tremendous hard work and commitment while battling the most unprecedented Ebola virus disease outbreak in human history.”
According to WHO, Sierra Leone experienced a massive rise in cases in September and October 2014 which was curbed by putting in place treatment facilities, setting up safe and dignified burial teams and working with communities to identify and stop Ebola.
The Ebola outbreak has decimated families, the health system, the economy and social structures. All need to recover. It has also left an estimated 4,000 survivors who have ongoing health problems who need medical care and social support.
The Oslo Times