Ebola: first week without a new case of disease

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A mobile clinic in Liberia, which was declared free of Ebola virus transmission in early September. Photo File: UNMEER/Simon Ruf

The prospect of an end to Ebola could be drawing nearer, after UN health officials announced that for the first time, a whole week has passed in West Africa without any new cases of the killer virus.

However, while the development is potentially very promising, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that there is still a considerable risk of transmission.

To date, the Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 11,300 people and infected nearly 28,500 since 2013, in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announcement is significant because it's the first time since March last year that a whole week has passed without any new cases of Ebola in the West Africa region.

Liberia was declared free of Ebola virus transmission in early September, and Sierra Leone hasn't had any confirmed infections for three weeks.

And now it's been announced that the last of the three worst affected countries, Guinea, has been Ebola-free for seven days.

Despite the good news, the World Health Organization has warned that there's still what it calls a "near-term" danger of further virus transmission.

That's because several "high-risk" contacts linked to infected Ebola carriers have been lost, and 500 people who've been close to infected patients still need monitoring.

Nonetheless, the UN health agency says that the low number of cases in recent months, and the fact that infections have been confined to small areas of western Guinea and Sierra Leone, mean that it can now push to eradicate Ebola once and for all.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, Ebola has killed more 11,300 people and infected more than 28 400 in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1’10″

 

 

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