WHO Declares Liberia Ebola Free

WHO Declares Liberia Ebola Free

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Liberia free of Ebola.

The declaration by the Health body effectively puts an end to the world's worst outbreak of the disease. The declaration by the health body is based on no new report of Ebola cases after 42 days without a new case in Liberia.

A country is considered free of human-to-human transmission once two 21-day incubation periods have passed since the last known case tested negative for a second time.

The WHO said, in a statement, that "all known chains of transmission have been stopped in West Africa", with no cases reported for at least 42 days in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the three states hardest-hit by the outbreak. So much was needed and so much was accomplished by national authorities, heroic health workers, civil society, local and international organizations and generous partners," said WHO Chief Margaret Chan.

In spite of the declaration, the WHO has warned that West Africa may see the virus resurface.  Ebola has killed more than 11,000 people since December 2013.

Liberia now joins Guinea and Sierra Leone, which earned the status last year. These three countries; Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea now face the mammoth task of recovery. The outbreak affected virtually every sector in these three countries. It exposed their weak health systems, which collapsed under the pressure of the epidemic.

Yet these countries are also badly affected by other deadly diseases, like malaria and tuberculosis, which were mostly ignored during the outbreak.

More than 17,000 Ebola survivors are dealing with a wide range of complications and social stigma. They include orphans with an uncertain future. Over 11,000 people have died from Ebola since the epidemic erupted in 2014 - a six-fold increase of victims since its discovery in 1976.

 

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