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Monday, 20 October 2014

WHO Declares Nigeria Ebola-Free

The World Health Organisation, today declared Nigeria Ebola-free after a 42-day period with no new cases of the disease in the country. The WHO declaration is premised on the fact that Nigeria has not had a confirmed case of Ebola for 42 days or two incubation periods of 21 days, just as it did for Senegal on Friday, the AFP said.

The achievement is being welcomed, with no end in sight to the disease that has claimed more than 4,500 lives this year, most of them in West Africa, and mounting fears about cases around the world.
It still comes as a surprise to many around the world how Nigeria, with an under-funded and ill-equipped health system, was able to contain the virus. 8 people died out of 20 confirmed Ebola cases in Nigeria, with all infections traced back to a single source, the Liberian finance ministry official, Patrick Sawyer, who arrived in Lagos on July 20.

Many feared the worst when Sawyer died on July 25 in a private hospital in Lagos, which is home to more than 20 million people, with poor sanitation and inadequate health facilities. Doctors were on strike at the time over pay and conditions in the public health sector, where many state hospitals lack running water, let alone soap and other basic equipment.

Yet the doomsday scenario of rapid spread among a 170-million-strong population, devastating Africa’s leading economy and oil producer, did not materialise. “Nigeria acted quickly and early and on a large scale,” John Vertefeuille, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told AFP. “They acted aggressively, especially in terms of contact-tracing,” he added.

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