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WHO Declares Senegal Ebola Outbreak Over

The World Health Organization on Friday declared the Ebola outbreak in Senegal is over, commending the country on its diligence. This makes Senegal the first country to be declared Ebola-free in the current outbreak.

Despite this rare good news amid fear over the deadly disease, cases continue spreading in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, with over 4,500 deaths so far.

A case of Ebola was confirmed in Senegal on August 29 in a man who had traveled to Dakar from Guinea, where he had contact with an Ebola patient. The Senegalese government monitored all 74 people the man came in contact with and increased border surveillance. By September 5, laboratory samples from the man were negative, indicating he had recovered and could return to Guinea, ABC News reported.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– WHO statement”]

The most important lesson for the world at large is this: An immediate, broad-based, and well-coordinated response can stop the Ebola virus, carried into a country in an infected traveler, dead in its tracks.

Senegal has now made it 42 days with no new cases. This is double the maximum incubation period for the disease. According to WHO, the incubation period of Ebola is between one and 21 days in 95% of cases, and no longer than 42 days in 98% of cases. It is possible for the virus to survive up to 90 days in the semen of infected men, however.

WHO cautions that Senegal does share a border with Guinea, which is a hotspot for Ebola along Liberia and Sierra Leone, CNN reported. The government should remain vigilant as its geographical location makes it vulnerable to additional cases of imported Ebola.

Nigeria, which has recorded a total of 19 cases, will most likely be declared Ebola-free next week, Bloomberg reported.

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