W.H.O. Declares Ebola Virus Epidemic Is No Longer In Guinea — Outbreak Contained, Liberia Still Waits

Ebola Virus Guinea West Africa

In world news, Guinea currently has been “declared free” of the Ebola virus as of Tuesday, according to Scientific American and the World Health Organization. The West African nation has already lost over 2,500 lives to the outbreak, and Liberia is biding its time as the only country left waiting to be cleared of this epidemic.

It’s been 42 days since the last patient in Guinea tested negative for a second time, and now the announcement comes as great news to the country, but according to Scientific American, 90 days still remain as the country of Guinea is under close watch.

Historically, the Ebola virus epidemic has been declared the world’s worst outbreak in history, as the CDC reported 11,315 deaths in West Africa. The outbreak got its start in eastern Guinea in the town of Gueckedou at the end of 2013, and continued through Liberia and Sierra Leone. Seven other countries later followed in the crisis.

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) gave accolades to the local government, citing “extraordinary leadership in fighting the epidemic.” For West Africa, this was considered an “important milestone” for their efforts, according to CNBC. Sierra Leone, another country impacted by the Ebola virus, also has 90 days of “enhanced observation, which, if it turns out successful, should be concluded come February, 2016, and Liberia is also under close observation.

There is a period of critical awareness as these countries remain under close watch for return infections, but fingers are crossed for this time frame, which is only months away from ending favorably.

Dr. Rick Brennan, Director of Ebola Response, reflected on this achievement, giving thanks to those who gave it their all, and in moving forward in constructing a better health infrastructure.

“It’s important to take a pause and be thankful for where we’ve arrived at and get to work rebuilding that health system and making it more resilient for the future.”

The Ebola virus is a mystery when it comes to its beginnings and the danger levels of the virus’ infectiousness is quite speedy. The following is according to the CDC.

“The natural reservoir host of Ebola viruses has not yet been identified, the way in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown.”

The initial start to get the ball rolling in the infection is basically attributed by vector “spillovers,” meaning it’s been said that the virus is at first transmitted from animal to human, usually from a bat or ape. From there, it can be transmitted from human-to-human via bodily fluid contact through vomit, feces, urine, etc. It isn’t known to be airborne and cannot spread through water and food sources, although some situations the Ebola virus may be spread through the handling of “bushmeat.”

With the clearance of the Ebola virus on it’s way, but under close observation, Guinea civilians hope that international trade and travel would once again return. Guinean food importer Dian Diallo has talked about using China as a means to acquire his resources, according to the New York Times.

“I think now I will get my visa to go to China to buy my goods. I did not go to hajj this year, and I hope to go to Mecca in 2016 if there is no Ebola.”

Of course, there is a time to mourn for others, as causalities of family members were quite extensive. Fruit seller and Ebola virus survivor Fode Abdulai gave his account of his losses. The fruit dealer lost 13 family members, and now friends and others are afraid to come near him and is causing him to struggle to get his business back up and running.

“Today, I am not doing any business.”

On a positive note, Guineans say this is a cause for celebration since the Ebola virus declaration, and intend on bringing aboard musicians to their community, while others believe this is a time for prayer.

[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images News]