Sierra Leone down to last chain of Ebola virus transmission

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A week has now passed with no new Ebola cases for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak in Sierra Leone. File Photo: WHO/S.Gborie

Sierra Leone is down to the last chain of Ebola virus transmission, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday.

The UN health agency reported that the use of rapid response teams and strong community involvement in finding Ebola virus disease cases is yielding results in the West African country.

A week has now passed with no new Ebola cases for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

Nearly 4,000 people have died from Ebola in Sierra Leone since March 2014.

According to WHO, the country is now down to a single chain of Ebola virus transmission, which started in Freetown but sparked a cluster of cases in a northern district called Tonkolili.

The UN health agency described Monday's news as "good" but underlined that intensive work with communities needs to continue to identify potential new cases.

It said the Ebola response has now moved to “phase 3″', which focuses  on tracking each and every chain of Ebola virus transmission and closing down the remaining chains as quickly as possible.

Effectively tracking chains of transmission means finding every person who has been in contact with someone proven to be infected with Ebola and monitoring them closely for symptoms for 21 days.

Almost 600 people reportedly "graduated" last Friday from quarantine in Tonkolili after being confined for the 21 day period.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’05″

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