Vaccines

West Africa Ebola outbreak no longer poses global risk, WHO says

Sierra Leonean doctor practises wearing protective clothing in the Ebola Training Academy in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Sierra Leonean doctor practises wearing protective clothing in the Ebola Training Academy in Freetown, Sierra Leone  (Copyright Reuters 2016)

West Africa's Ebola outbreak no longer constitutes a threat to international public health, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, declaring an end to a nearly 20-month emergency that has killed about 11,300 people.

Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, accepted the recommendations of a committee of independent experts who also called for lifting any travel and trade restrictions affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

"The Committee provided its view that Ebola transmission in West Africa no longer constitutes an extraordinary event, that the risk of international spread is now low, and that countries currently have the capacity to respond rapidly to new virus emergences," the WHO said in a statement.

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All original chains of virus transmission have ended, but a new chain in Guinea has infected eight people including seven who have died, it said, adding that the virus persists in the semen of some men for over a year.