Countries That Beat Ebola Include Nigeria, Senegal, And Hopefully Soon The United States
Finally, some success stories in all the Ebola hysteria. On Monday, the World Health Organization declared Nigeria Ebola-free after 42 days without any new cases. The health organization praised the country's swift action when the disease first landed on Nigerian soil in July. The African country now serves as a shining role model in the battle against Ebola, proving that with the right protocols a country can defeat the disease.
At a news conference in the country's capital, Abuja, WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz declared, "Nigeria is now free of Ebola" to an applauding crowd. But Vaz was quick to remind everyone that they had merely won one battle in the overall war against Ebola in West Africa. For now, WHO wants the rest of the world to look to Nigeria as a role model, particularly the U.S., whose healthcare system is far more advanced — and is experiencing Ebola panic anyway. The organization issued a statement on Monday, saying:
This is a spectacular success story that shows that Ebola can be contained. Such a story can help the many other developing countries that are deeply worried by the prospect of an imported Ebola case. Many wealthy countries, with outstanding health systems, may have something to learn as well.
So, what effective course of action did Nigeria take to curb the outbreak? Apparently, they drew on their experience combating a different disease. Though the U.S. may have initially flubbed protocols, we made our own strides this past weekend in the battle against Ebola. Here's how Nigeria beat Ebola, along with a couple other success stories to lift us out of our Ebola anxiety.
A Timeline of Ebola in Nigeria
The first case of Ebola arrived in Nigeria on July 20 when an infected traveler, a Liberian-American diplomat named Patrick Sawyer, came to Lagos from Liberia. Conditions were ideal for the disease to spread — Lagos has a population of 21 million and Nigeria is Africa's most populous country — but instead, the Nigerian government stopped the disease in its tracks.
According to the Guardian, Nigeria used its polio surveillance experience to contain Ebola, setting up an emergency operation center in Lagos and eventually isolation wards. For the next few months, 1,800 trained workers were given protective gear and made 18,000 visits to monitor 900 possibly infected patients.
Overall, the outbreak was limited in Nigeria. Sawyer died days after arriving in Lagos, and 19 other cases were confirmed, resulting in eight deaths. The last case was confirmed on Aug. 31.
Dozens Taken Off of U.S. Watch List
There was also some good news for the U.S. on Monday, as the first round of people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan were announced asymptomatic. 43 people were taken off the watch list and allowed to go back to their normal lives. Among the group was Louise Troh, Duncan's fiancée and mother to their son. More than 70 healthcare workers who treated Duncan remain under watch.
The announcement about Nigeria comes days after Senegal was also declared free of Ebola. WHO also commended Senegal's response to the disease, which involved closely monitoring 74 people who had been in contact with the first Ebola patient and effectively preventing the disease from spreading further. Like Nigeria, Senegalese officials waited 42 days, twice the maximum incubation period, before confirming that they were rid of Ebola.
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