The World Health Oraganization (WHO) has officially declared Sierra Leone free of the deadly Ebola virus that killed thousands since it flared up on the continent but also warns of a reemergence.
According to a WHO Statement, today (March 17) marked period with which no negative test for the Ebola virus was recorded, hence the decision to declare Sierra Leone free of the virus.
‘‘As of today, 17 March, 42 days have passed, two incubation cycles of the virus, since the last person confirmed to have Ebola virus disease in the country tested negative for a second time,’‘ the statement read.
The global health outfit however sounded a warning to Sierra Leone and its neighbours Liberia and Guines about the likelihoods of flare-ups as a result of viruses lingering in some survivors, ‘‘WHO continues to stress that Sierra Leone, as well as Liberia and Guinea, are still at risk of Ebola flare-ups, largely due to virus persistence in some survivors, and must remain on high alert and ready to respond,’‘ the statement added.
WHO lauded major stakeholders in the combat against the Ebola virus from the local, national, sub regional through to the international level. They are of the strong view that effective surveillance and rapid response in the case of a flare-up were crucial to quelling any future outbreaks.
According to WHO, globally there have been 28,639 cases of Ebola virus disease and 11,316 deaths at 13 March. There are over 10,000 survivors of Ebola virus disease and the three main objectives of the WHO relative to the disease are; to interrupt all remaining chains of Ebola transmission, respond to the consequences of residual risks and work on health systems recovery.
An earlier announcement about Sierra Leone being Ebola-free was shortlived as a fresh case almost immediately popped up.