The World Health Organization, WHO, today declared the Republic of Guinea free of Ebola.

In a statement, the United Nations agency said that Forty-two days have passed since the last person who had Ebola virus disease tested negative for the second time.

It added that the Republic of Guinea is now in a 90-day period of “heightened surveillance” to ensure that new cases are identified quickly before they can spread to other people.

Dr. Abou Bekr Gaye, acting WHO Representative in Guinea said: “WHO commends the Government of Guinea and its people on ending this Ebola outbreak. We must continue to be vigilant to ensure that we rapidly detect and stop any new cases that may occur.”

Ebola virus disease is a severe, often fatal illness in humans that is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

According to WHO, the first Ebola outbreak occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in West Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas.

For the Republic of Guinea, this would be the second time it’s been declared Ebola free. Previously, in December, WHO declared Guinea free of transmission after 42 days had passed without a positive test.

However, between March 17 and April 6, seven people were confirmed of having the virus.

Guinea is believed to be where the world’s worst Ebola outbreak occurred.

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

Author: Ope Adedeji