World Health Organisation declares Guinea Ebola free
Guinea was declared free of Ebola transmission on Tuesday (December 29) after more than 2,500 people died from the virus in the West African nation, leaving Liberia as the only country still counting down the days until the end of the epidemic.
The announcement comes 42 days after the last person confirmed with Ebola tested negative for a second time. The country now enters a 90-day period of heightened surveillance, the U.N. World Health Organization said.
The world’s worst outbreak of the disease began in Gueckedou, eastern Guinea, in December 2013 before spreading to Liberia, Sierra Leone and seven other countries. In all, more than 11,300 people died.
There were more than 3,800 Ebola cases in Guinea out of more than 28,600 cases globally, according to WHO. Almost all the cases and deaths were in Guinea and its neighbours Liberia and Sierra Leone.
A country is declared Ebola free 42 days after the recovery or death of the final patient and if there are no new infections.
Liberia has lost more than 4,800 people to the haemorrhagic fever, but if all goes well will be declared virus-free in January. The country was declared Ebola free in May and September, but each time new cases emerged.
Sierra Leone officially ended its epidemic in November.
The deficiencies of the public health system in Guinea and the fact that early symptoms of Ebola are similar to malaria led to misdiagnoses early in the epidemic and allowed for the spread of the disease, Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said.
In March, a reinforcement team from MSF with viral haemorrhagic fever specialists arrived in Gueckedou and started an exploratory intervention, supporting the health ministry in collecting samples for analysis and setting up the first Ebola management centre (EMC) in the country.