In West Africa, Ebola outbreak appears to be nearing end

Published on July 13, 2016
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While public attention was focused on the Zika virus, the World Health Organization in early June declared that the Ebola virus, responsible for over 11,000 deaths in West Africa since late 2013, was no longer spreading in either Liberia or Guinea.

Forty-two days had passed since the last person with confirmed Ebola virus disease in both countries tested negative for the virus for a second time. Liberia and Guinea are now in a 90-day period of heightened surveillance to quickly identify new cases of Ebola to prevent additional infections. In Sierra Leone, no new cases of Ebola have been seen since January.

West Africa experienced the largest Ebola outbreak in history, with Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea the most affected countries. A total of 28,616 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease were reported along with 11,310 deaths, according to the WHO.

With more than 10,000 survivors, the WHO warns that the risk remains for additional outbreaks originating from exposure to infected survivor body fluids, requiring sustained counseling on safe sex practices and testing of body fluids.

WHO and partners are working with the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to help ensure that survivors have access to medical and psychosocial care and screening for persistent virus, as well as counseling and education to help them reintegrate into family and community life, reduce stigma, and minimize the risk of Ebola virus transmission.

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