Guinea declared Ebola free, step to end disease

December 30, 2015 9:56 am

Belhocine a representative from the World Health Organization speaks
during a press briefing in city of Conakry, . Photo / AP

The World Health Organization declared the outbreak over in
Guinea, a huge step in the fight against the world’s largest epidemic
and the first time there are no known cases anywhere since the virus
emerged in Guinea two years ago.
The West -concentrated outbreak last year spread to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone.
is on a countdown to become Ebola-free on which could mark a final end
to the epidemic. Sierra Leone, the third West African country to be
hammered by the epidemic, was declared free from transmissions.
No new cases have been reported anywhere in the world in at least 21 days, according to WHO.
is the first time that all three countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra
Leone have stopped the original chains of transmission that were
responsible for starting this devastating outbreak two years ago,” said
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

But experts warn that cases may still emerge. So far, the virus has killed more than 11,300 people worldwide.
definitely cannot let our guard down,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director
of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It’s certainly
possible we will have more cases and more clusters in the coming
On Tuesday, about 50 Ebola survivors, journalists, and
family members of those who lost loved ones gathered at WHO’s Ebola
headquarters in Conakry, where the mood was of celebration, mixed with
“Guinea is a blessed country. We hope that all the dead,
and the victims of this disease will be sacrifices to the Guinean
nation so that no other epidemic touches us,” said survivor Ibrahima
Mariam Camara, with tears in her eyes, said the country lost
some of its best to Ebola, including her mother and brother, among the
more than 2,500 people who died in Guinea.
“That cursed disease
separated me from that which is most beautiful to me in my life,” she
said. “But it’s over. We are turning a page on Ebola, definitively.”
West African nation will hold a big celebration Wednesday, overseen by
President Alpha Conde and including testimonies by Ebola survivors.
Later, popular West African artists such as Youssou N’Dour and Tiken Jah
Fakoly are to perform at a concert in the capital.

People prepare food at a home stead in the city of Conakry, Guinea. Photo / AP
People prepare food at a home stead in the city of Conakry, Guinea. Photo / AP
Dr. Mohamed Belhocine, WHO’s representative in Guinea, said
Tuesday the nation will now enter a 90-day period of heightened
WHO declares that Ebola disease transmission has
ended when the country goes through two incubation periods — 21 days
each — without a new case emerging.
Guinea had the fewest Ebola
cases of the three countries, but its bigger size, extensive remote
areas and a stigma and distrust of health workers allowed the outbreak
to persist longer here.
Frieden also warned that if it persists or re-emerges in animals, a transmission to humans is still possible.
“That’s why it’s so important these countries be ready for additional cases,” he said.
said the CDC is working on a set of protection measures, including
laboratories that can test for Ebola and other dangerous microbes.
investigators within the three West African countries will help stop
and prevent threats, rapid tests are available and emergency operation
centers are in place to oversee a robust response.
“The world needs to be ready to surge in more rapidly when a country’s abilities are overwhelmed,” he said.
outbreak claimed the first lives in December 2013 but only made
headlines in March 2014 in Guinea, before quickly spreading to Liberia
and Sierra Leone.
By early June 2014, even though the Ebola
epidemic was the deadliest ever recorded, the WHO resisted sounding the
international alarm until August, a delay that some argue may have cost

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