The West African countries that were impacted by the 2014 Ebola outbreak have recently declared themselves free of the infection.
Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, despite beating the most recent outbreak, are remaining on high alert to prepare for another in the future.
“Fifteen months ago, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were together reporting more than 950 cases of Ebola every week,” World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said. “Today, the three countries have interrupted all chains of transmission from the original outbreak that began more than two years ago.”
Chan addressed the executive board on Jan. 25. She spoke of the large achievement it took to overcome the Ebola virus in these nations, as well as preventing the spread of the disease across the world.
“This is a monumental achievement that needs to be acknowledged,” Chan said. “Please join me in honoring the leadership of the three governments, the heroic sacrifices of health care workers and communities and the unwavering support from a host of partners.”
The director-general emphasized that the outbreak has not yet been declared over by WHO. There have been multiple single cases that have been reported after survivors reintroduced the disease. She directed all countries to remain vigilant and be on constant alert for any potential new outbreaks.
The Zika virus was also a topic of discussion for the director, as the infection has been affecting Latin American countries. The spread of the virus has prompted several countries to issues travel warnings for those looking to travel to Latin America.
“Although a causal link between Zika infection in pregnancy and microcephaly has not been established, the circumstantial evidence is suggestive and extremely worrisome,” Chan said. “An increased occurrence of neurological syndromes, noted in some countries coincident with arrival of the virus, adds to the concern.”