Today, the World Health Organization announced on Twitter that Nigeria is free of Ebola, with 42 days — the disease’s incubation period is up to 21 days — having passed since its last confirmed case. On Friday, WHO declared the outbreak over in Senegal.
The good news follows otherwise sobering reports about Ebola’s continued impact worldwide. WHO’s Oct. 5 figures show that more than 8,000 people have been infected in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, with 3,879 confirmed deaths.
Three confirmed cases in the U.S., including two health care workers, have heightened awareness of the disease among Americans. While several nations have implemented steps to ban travelers or restrict entry from West Africa, U.S. public health officials have called for more evidence-based preventive measures.
“Preventing travel from affected countries is an inadequate measure,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, in an op-ed published in U.S. News and World Report. “Not only do we need to ensure rapid passage of people in and out of the area for response purposes, but we also need to ensure the continued flow of supplies desperately needed to address the outbreak at its source, which is the best way to break the chain of infection.
“Sound disease surveillance, case finding, monitoring and treatment is the appropriate approach. Ebola, although highly lethal, can be managed using these proven methods.”
In his weekly address, President Barack Obama discussed how the U.S. is responding to Ebola internationally and domestically, including bolstered activity from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Dallas and Cleveland where one of the recently affected health workers travelled, screening measures at airports and helping lead the global response in West Africa.