WHO says Ebola no longer a world health emergency

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization announced the ongoing Ebola situation in West Africa is no longer an international health emergency. Margaret Chan, MD, director general of the WHO, made the announcement after the ninth meeting of the Emergency Committee concerning Ebola.

In remarks made to the media after the meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Chan said, "Although the response to a cluster of new Ebola cases and deaths is being reported in Guinea, that flare-up currently involves a single chain of transmission. It is the committee's view that the countries have the capacities and capabilities to manage such flares."

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The WHO had anticipated the possibility of further flare-ups as the prevalence of Ebola began to recede. To combat these flare-ups, the organization kept hundreds of their own staff in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to quickly interrupt transmission chains.

In her statement, Dr. Chan highlighted the strength of the Ebola response capabilities in West Africa. "Our tools are sharper. For the first time in any Ebola outbreak, response teams have access to vaccination as a powerful containment tool."

The West African Ebola virus epidemic was the worst of its kind, infecting 28,608 and killing 11,305 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the CDC.

Dr. Chan concluded her statement by giving recognition to "the tremendous leadership in these three countries, the efforts of their people, and the dedication of the international response that have brought the international public health emergency of international concern to an end."

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