On Tuesday, December 29, 2015, The World Health Organization (WHO) made a statement declaring the Ebola outbreak in Guinea over. WHO declared that the human-to-human transmission has ended in the country because there were 42 consecutive days with zero cases since the last person with the Ebola virus disease (EVD) was confirmed. Guinea is now experiencing a 90-day period of intense surveillance over the spread of Ebola.

The announcement that Guinea has gone through two incubation periods, both 21 days long, without a new case emerging set the room in the World Health Organization’s Ebola headquarters in Conakry abuzz filling the space with celebratory excitement alongside sadness.

Last year, the Ebola virus disease spread to Guinea’s neighboring countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Currently, the epidemic is fading as Liberia’s last confirmed cases were during the week of November 22, 2015. In order for the Ebola outbreak in Liberia to be considered over, further cases of human-to-human transmission must not be reported for 42 days. That queuing period goes until January 14, 2016. Sierra Leone’s 90-day period of concentrated observation over the EVD outbreak will end on February 5, 2016, after the transmissions were reported as finished on November 7, 2015.

While Guinea has seen the fewest cases of Ebola out of the three countries, the combination of its size, remote areas, and distrust of health workers caused the outbreak to stay in the country longer.

Ebola took the first lives in December 2013, but began to spread through the news in March 2014 in Guinea before quickly moving to Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the epidemic was at its worst throughout June 2014, seeing 390 cases of EVD including 270 deaths and 270 laboratory-confirmed cases by June 20, 2014.

The CDC described Ebola as “ a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus species. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates” which was founded 1976 by the Ebola River, in the now-Democratic Republic of the Congo. The virus can spread through direct contract with blood or body fluids, objects like needles and syringes, infected fruit bats or primates, and contact with semen from a man recovering from Ebola.


Photo credit: CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images