WHO declares end to Ebola transmission in West Africa

2016-01-14 13:39
(Michael Duff, AP)

(Michael Duff, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Geneva - The World Health Organization on Thursday declared an end to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa after no new cases emerged in Liberia, while cautioning that the world cannot yet be fully declared free of the disease that claimed more than 11 300 lives during a two-year outbreak.

Liberia, which along with Sierra Leone and Guinea was an epicenter of the latest outbreak, was first declared free of the disease last May, but new cases emerged two times - forcing officials there to restart the clock.

"While this is an important milestone and a very important step forward, we have to say that the job is still not done," said Rick Brennan, WHO director of emergency risk assessment and humanitarian response, at a news conference in Geneva. "That's because there is still ongoing risk of re-emergence of the disease because of persistence of the virus in a proportion of survivors."

Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO's special representative for the Ebola Response, said in a statement: "The risk of re-introduction of infection is diminishing as the virus gradually clears from the survivor population, but we still anticipate more flare-ups and must be prepared for them."

Brennan said the virus can persist in the body fluids of some survivors - and importantly, in the semen of male survivors for a period of up to 12 months. He said WHO estimates that there are about 1 200 survivors in Guinea, 5 000 in Sierra Leone and 4 000 in Liberia.

The virulent disease first emerged in rural Guinea in December 2013, then spread to the country's capital and across borders to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Cases also popped up in Mali, Senegal and Nigeria though transmission chains there were quickly shut down.

A Liberian man who traveled to the US in October 2014 fell ill and died in Texas of Ebola. No other cases emerged there, though his death sparked widespread panic in the United States.

The WHO and others have been roundly criticised for responding too slowly at the beginning of the outbreak. WHO officials say they are carrying out numerous reforms in the wake of the epidemic.

Read more on:    west africa  |  ebola

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.