World Health Organisation declares Sierra Leone Ebola-free

November 13, 2015
The WHO’s country director, Dr Anders Nordström, made the announcement at an official ceremony in the capital Freetown, after Sierra Leone had passed 42 days without an Ebola case, thereby satisfying criteria that the virus was no longer being transmitted.

“Sierra Leone recorded the first Ebola case in May 2014, in total 8,704 people were infected and 3,589 have died, 221 of them healthcare workers,”
Nordström said.

A country is considered free of human-to-human Ebola transmission once two 21-day incubation periods have passed since the last known case tested negative for a second time. 

The Ebola epidemic has infected 28,600 people throughout the three hardest-hit West African nations (Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia), and claimed 11,300 lives since December 2013. 

Liberia was declared free of Ebola on September 3rd 2015, following 4800 deaths there, leaving neighbouring Guinea as the only country still registering cases.

Sierra Leone’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma, has ended the state of emergency declared during the Ebola outbreak. The country now enters a 90-day period of enhanced surveillance which will run until 5 February 2016 and the WHO will continue to support Sierra Leone during this period. This new phase is critical for ensuring early detection of any possible new cases of Ebola virus disease.

The WHO will maintain an enhanced staff presence in Sierra Leone during this transition from outbreak control, to enhanced vigilance, to the recovery of essential health services.

“We now have a unique opportunity to support Sierra Leone to build a strong and resilient public health system ready to detect and respond to the next outbreak of disease, or any other public health threat.” said Dr Nordström.