The World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared Nigeria Ebola free, after a 42 day period with no new cases, a success story with lessons for countries still struggling to contain the deadly virus.
“Nigeria is now free of Ebola,” WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz told a news conference in the capital Abuja on Monday.
“This is a spectacular success story … 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 virus is gone for now. The outbreak in Nigeria has been defeated. This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be contained,” Vaz said.
“The average Nigerian is relieved … a lot of people have been quite scared. Authorities want people to celebrate but to remain cautious.
The first Nigeria case, Africa’s most populous nation, was imported from Liberia, when a Liberian-American diplomat called Patrick Sawyer collapsed at the main international airport in Lagos on July 20. Because the country was ill prepared and had no screening procedures in place, Sawyer was able to infect many people, including several health workers in the hospital where he was taken.
There are 4,546 people died because of the deadly Ebola virus across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the three worst-affected countries. Nigeria on the other hand had 20 cases in total, of which eight died.