CONAKRY – Guinea was declared free of Ebola on Tuesday after more than 2,500 people died from the virus in the West African nation, leaving Liberia as the only country still awaiting a countdown for the end of the epidemic.
People in the capital, Conakry, greeted the declaration by authorities and the U.N. World Health Organization with mixed emotions given the deaths and the damage the virus did to the economy and the country's health and education sectors.
"Several of my family are dead. This situation has shown us how much we must fight for those who are survivors," Fanta Oulen Camara, who works for Medecins Sans Frontieres Belgium (Doctors Without Borders), told Reuters.
"After I got better, the hardest thing was to make people welcome me. Most people that normally supported me abandoned me. Even the school where I was an instructor dropped me. It was very hard," said Camara, 26, who fell ill in March 2014.
Ebola has orphaned about 6,200 children in Guinea, said Rene Migliani, an official at the national coordination center for the fight against Ebola.
There were more than 3,800 Ebola cases in Guinea out of more than 28,600 cases globally with 11,300 deaths, according to figures from the WHO. Almost all the cases and deaths were in Guinea and its neighbors Liberia and Sierra Leone.
A country is declared Ebola free 42 days after the recovery or death of the final patient and if there are no new infections.
Liberia has lost more than 4,800 people to the haemorrhagic fever, but if all goes well will be declared virus-free in January. The country was declared Ebola free in May and September, but each time new cases emerged.
Sierra Leone officially ended its epidemic in November.