18 months after first case, Sierra Leone declared free of Ebola

18 months after first case, Sierra Leone declared free of Ebola

About a year and a half after it emerged, the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has officially ended.

Nearly 4,000 Sierra Leoneans — among more than 11,000 West Africans — died of the disease. It came upon some slums and villages like a wave, infecting scores overnight and posing one of the most significant public health challenges in recent history.

Global health officials and members of the country’s government gathered Saturday in the capital to mark the milestone. The World Health Organization said 42 days had passed since the last recorded case, the agency’s criteria for declaring the end of an outbreak.

“It’s been a very, very long journey,” said Anders Nordström, WHO’s representative in Sierra Leone. “People are both relieved, tired and sad. There’s a feeling of ‘Yes, we did it.’ But also recognition of the many people who suffered.” Read more

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