It’s been a long, hard fight, but the World Health Organization has finally announced that West Africa is Ebola-free.
The Organization has declared Liberia as Ebola-free, according to the BBC, with 42 days having passed without any new cases of the disease being confirmed. Sierra Leone and Guinea were both declared Ebola-free last year. The news effectively means that the West African Ebola outbreak is now over.
It may not remain that way. Liberia has already been announced Ebola-free twice before, but small numbers of cases caused it to lapse back into being at-risk. In particular, it’s feared that the fact that the virus can remain in the semen of male survivors for as long as one year will make small flare-ups incredibly likely.
West Africa, along with plenty of support from more developed countries, has been fighting hard to make sure that the disease is wiped out. Today marks the first day in two years that all three of the most affected countries have been without the disease for 42 days, a figure defined by WHO because Ebola has an incubation period of 21 days.
The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 11,000 people since December 2013. [BBC]
Image by United Nations