zika Margaret Chan WHO.jpg
Photograph: EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI

Two-and-a-half years after Ebola broke out in West Africa, the epidemic is over, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Thursday, after it declared Liberia free of the virus.

Nine days earlier, the WHO said neighbouring Guinea, where the epidemic broke out in December 2013, was Ebola-free. In mid-March, the outbreak was declared over in Sierra Leone.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were the three countries most affected by the virus, which killed more than 11,000 people.

It is the fourth time the WHO declared Liberia free of the virus. The last three Ebola cases were reported in early April, with the last patient testing negative on April 28.

No new cases occurred for the past 42 days. Liberia now enters a 90-day period of heightened surveillance.

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea must remain vigilant for new infections, the WHO cautioned, because the risk of additional outbreaks from exposure to infected body fluids of survivors remains.

The WHO already lifted its global health alert on Ebola at the end of March, as the virus no longer constitutes a global health emergency.

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