Guinea's last Ebola patient has officially recovered, testing negative for a second time, beginning the 42-day countdown toward the country being declared free of the virus, the nation's health officials announced today.
The patient is a baby girl who was recently born to a 25-year-old mother who died from her infection. The two were part of a four-person family cluster in Forecariah district, all part of the last known transmission chain in Guinea. The other infected family members were the woman's two other young children.
Fode Tass Sylla, a spokesman for Guinea's Ebola task force, told the Associated Press (AP) that a medical team conducted a second test on the baby yesterday, which yielded negative results. The World Health Organization (WHO) typically declares an end to epidemic disease transmission in a country when it passes two incubation periods without a new case.
The baby was born Oct 27 and received care at the Nongo Ebola treatment center from Doctors without Borders (MSF), Reuters reported today. Laurence Sailly, MSF's emergency coordinator for Guinea, told the news service that the girl is the first baby infected with Ebola to have recovered and that she will continue to receive specialized medical care before returning home.
On Nov 14, 68 people who were contacts of the family cluster were released from quarantine, according to the AP report.
Liberia, Sierra Leone already Ebola-free
Liberia was declared free of Ebola virus for the second time on Sep 3, and Sierra Leone reached that mark on Nov 7.
Once countries achieve that status they transition to a 90-day enhanced surveillance period.
The outbreak started in Guinea's forested region in December 2013, later spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone. With 3,805 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases and 2,536 deaths, Guinea has the lowest totals of the three worst-affected nations. The country's battle against the disease was marked by episodes of community resistance that sometimes spilled over to violent attacks on responders.
Nov 17 AP story
Nov 17 Reuters story
Nov 11 WHO Ebola situation update