After 20 reported cases and eight deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Nigeria Ebola-free on Monday, reported the Associated Press. !
“This is a spectacular success story,” Rui Gama Vaz, a WHO representative, said during a news conference.
“It shows that Ebola can be contained but we must be clear that we have only won a battle. The war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola.”
The first case of Ebola was imported to Nigeria when Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American diplomat, collapsed in a Lagos airport in July. There have been no new cases of the disease in Nigeria in 42 days, which is the minimum length of time required to declare an “official” end to an outbreak (twice the 21-day incubation period for the virus).
“Nigeria was not really prepared for the outbreak, but the swift response from the federal government, state governments (and) international organisations … was essential,” said Samuel Matoka, Ebola operations manager in Nigeria for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).