WHO declares Liberia Ebola-free, advises continued caution

The WHO has announced the end to the Liberian Ebola outbreak.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an end to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

Although most chains of the disease have been shut down in West Africa, one case was recently reported in Sierra Leone.

The countries are expected to maintain a high level of surveillance as survivors can still carry the infection as they recover. Liberia was the first country to declare itself free of the disease, which occurred in May 2015.

“WHO commends Liberia’s government and people on their effective response to this recent re-emergence of Ebola,” Dr. Alex Gasasira, WHO representative in Liberia, said. “The rapid cessation of the flare-up is a concrete demonstration of the government’s strengthened capacity to manage disease outbreaks. WHO will continue to support Liberia in its effort to prevent, detect and respond to suspected cases.”

Jan. 14 was the anniversary of the outbreak, which started in 2014. All three West African countries have declared themselves free of the outbreak -- Guinea on Nov. 29 and Sierra Leone on Nov. 7.

“Detecting and breaking every chain of transmission has been a monumental achievement,” WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said. “So much was needed and so much was accomplished by national authorities, heroic health workers, civil society, local and international organizations and generous partners. But our work is not done and vigilance is necessary to prevent new outbreaks.”

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