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WHO declares end of most recent Ebola outbreak in Liberia


Lagos – The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday declared the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Liberia.
This is contained in a WHO statement made available to newsmen in Lagos.
It stated that the declaration came 42 days after the last confirmed Ebola patient case in Liberia tested negative for the virus for the second time.
“Liberia now enters a 90-day period of heightened surveillance to ensure that any new case is identified quickly and contained before spreading,’’ WHO said.
The statement recalled that Liberia first declared the end of Ebola human-to-human transmission on May 9, 2015, but the virus had re-emerged three times in the country since then.
It said that the most recent case was that of a woman who had exposure to the virus in Guinea and travelled to Monrovia in Liberia, and her two children were subsequently infected.
“WHO commends Liberia’s Government and people on their effective responses to this recent re-emergence of Ebola.
“WHO will continue to support Liberia in its effort to prevent, detect and respond to suspected cases,’’ the statement quoted Dr Alex Gasasira, WHO Representative in Liberia as saying.
According to the statement, today marked the fourth time since the start of the epidemic two years ago that Liberia had reported zero cases for at least 42 days.
It said that Sierra Leone had declared the end of Ebola human-to-human transmission on March 17 and Guinea on June 1, following the last flare ups.
“WHO cautions that the three countries must remain vigilant for new infections.
“The risk of additional outbreaks from exposure to infected body fluids of survivors remains.
“WHO and partners continue to work with the Governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to help ensure that survivors were properly integrated into the family life.
“WHO, in collaboration with the partners, is committed to support the Government of Liberia to strengthen its health system and improve healthcare delivery at all levels,’’ the statement said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the index case in Nigeria was a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, who flew from Liberia to Lagos with the virus on July 20, 2014.
Sawyer became ill upon arriving at the airport and died five days later at a private hospital in Lagos.
No fewer than 20 cases and eight deaths were confirmed along with the imported case.
Four of the dead were healthcare workers who had cared for Sawyer.
The WHO’s representative in Nigeria had on Oct. 20, 2014, officially declared Nigeria to be Ebola free after no new active case was reported in the follow up contacts, saying it is a “spectacular success story”. (NAN)

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