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Friday, 15 January 2016

Ebola is back, barely 24 hours after ‘victory’

Less than 24 hours after the world was declared Ebola-free, a new probable case of the viral disease has been recorded in Sierra Leone. The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the new case on Friday, adding that West Africa is still at risk of such flare-ups. “A new #Ebola case confirmed by the #SierraLeone government spokesperson reflects the ongoing risk of new infections in West Africa,” WHO said, via its Twitter account. “WHO stresses ongoing risk of re-emergence of #Ebola in West Africa throughout 2016 due to persistence of the virus among survivors. “The three countries – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone – remain at high risk of additional small #Ebola outbreaks, also known as flare-ups “We are now at a critical period in the #Ebola epidemic: move from managing cases & patients to managing the risk of new infections”. On Thursday, the world was declared Ebola-free, following a straight 42-day period without a single case in Guinea, Sierra Leone and most importantly, Liberia. WHO immediately warned that the three countries remained at high risk of additional small outbreaks of the virus, like the recent one in Liberia. “To date, 10 such flare-ups have been identified that were not part of the original outbreak, and are likely the result of the virus persisting in survivors even after recovery,” it said said in a statement. Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, had said: “Detecting and breaking every chain of transmission has been a monumental achievement”. “So much was needed and so much was accomplished by national authorities, heroic health workers, civil society, local and international organizations and generous partners. But our work is not done and vigilance is necessary to prevent new outbreaks.” The Ebola epidemic claimed the lives of more than 11,300 people and infected over 28,500.

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