Guinea’s Ebola outbreak comes to an end

• The disease killed more than 2,500 people in the West African state, and a further 9,000 in neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone

THE EBOLA outbreak in Guinea is officially over.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the end of the Ebola outbreak in the west African country, two years after the epidemic began there.

Guineans are expected to celebrate the landmark with concerts and fireworks, the BBC reported.

The disease killed more than 2,500 people in the West African state, and a further 9,000 in neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Liberia was declared Ebola-free by the WHO in September, and Sierra Leone in November.

However, Liberia has had new cases since the declaration.

A country is considered free of human-to-human transmission once two 21-day incubation periods have passed since the last known case tested negative for a second time.

“It’s the best year-end present that God could give to Guinea, and the best news that Guineans could hope for,” Ebola survivor Alama Kambou Dore told AFP news agency.

Local health workers echoed a warning from the WHO that vigilance was still vital despite the mood of celebration.

“We have to be very careful, because even if open transmission has been stopped, the disease has not been totally defeated,” said Alpha Seny Souhmah, a Guinean health worker and Ebola survivor.

In a statement, the WHO congratulated the Guinean government and people for showing “extraordinary leadership in fighting the epidemic”.

But it also noted that there had been 10 new small outbreaks of the virus between March and November.

“The coming months will be absolutely critical,” said Dr Bruce Aylward from the WHO’s Ebola response team.

“This is the period when the countries need to be sure that they are fully prepared to prevent, detect and respond to any new cases.”

The WHO will maintain surveillance and outbreak response teams in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia throughout 2016, Dr Aylward added.

-[The Voice Online]