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Nigeria & Senegal Declared Ebola Free
Oct 27, 2014

One of the worst affected countries with Ebola—Nigeria, has been declared disease free.The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that Nigeria has successfully contained the virus that has killed more than 4,500 people till now and is steadily spreading across the globe. Africa's most populous country has seen 8 deaths due to an outbreak which saw 20 people infected.

WHO however said there have been no new cases confirmed since September 8, meaning Nigeria has passed the 42-day period needed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to confirm it has quashed its Ebola outbreak. WHO recently officially declared Senegal Ebola-free. The virus has till now killed 70 per cent of those it infected.

Nigeria had passed through the requisite 42 days, with active surveillance for new cases in place and none detected. For Nigeria, WHO confirms that tracing of people known to have contact with an Ebola patient reached 100 per cent in Lagos and 98 per cent in Port Harcourt. In a piece of world-class epidemiological detective work, all confirmed cases in Nigeria were eventually linked back to the Liberian air traveller who introduced the virus into the country on July 20.

The declaration by WHO that the outbreaks in these two countries are over will give the world some welcome news in an epidemic that elsewhere remains out of control in three West African nations. In Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, new cases continue to explode in areas that looked like they were coming under control. An unusual characteristic of this epidemic is a persistent cyclical pattern of gradual dips in the number of new cases, followed by sudden flare-ups. WHO epidemiologists see no signs that the outbreaks in any of these three countries are coming under control.

The period of 42 days, with active case-finding in place, is twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola virus disease and is considered by WHO as sufficient to generate confidence in a declaration that an Ebola outbreak has ended. Recent studies conducted in West Africa have demonstrated that 95 per cent of confirmed cases have an incubation period in the range of 1 to 21 days; 98 per cent have an incubation period that falls within the 1 to 42 day interval. WHO is therefore confident that detection of no new cases, with active surveillance in place, throughout this 42-day period means that an Ebola outbreak is indeed over.

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