Sierra Leone Declared Ebola Free

IAS Prelims 2023

World Health Organization has announced that Sierra Leone is free of the Ebola virus.

West African nation’s epidemic was declared over yesterday at a ceremony attended by President Ernest Bai Koroma and WHO representative Anders Nordstrom.

Residents of Sierra Leone’s capital have celebrated the end of an Ebola epidemic that has killed almost 4,000 people since it began last year.

Many of the 220 health workers who died were infected due to inadequate protective equipment and training.

The country’s first confirmed Ebola survivor, Victoria Yillia, told the crowd she was “happy that this disease which almost killed me has finally ended”.

She appealed to authorities not to forget survivors, many of whom have faced social stigma and persistent health problems.

Ebola has killed more than 11,300 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea since the epidemic was announced in March 2014 and about 28,500 were infected. Sierra Leone’s death toll was 3,955 people.

Liberia was declared free of Ebola on September 3, while a handful of cases remain in Guinea.

The 42-day countdown to be declared Ebola-free starts when the last patient tests negative a second time, normally after a 48-hour gap following their first negative test.

The country now enters a 90-day period of surveillance with support from the WHO, which said the monitoring phase was critical to ensure early detection of any possible new cases.