Nigeria and Senegal are officially Ebola-free

A morning of much-needed good news

Published October 20, 2014 1:56PM (EDT)

                                        (<a href='url to photographer'>Festa</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(Festa via Shutterstock)

On Monday, the World Health Organization officially declared Nigeria and Senegal Ebola-free after six weeks with no new case of the virus.

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In a statement, the WHO called the effort "a spectacular success story that shows that Ebola can be contained." They continued to note that the outbreak in Nigeria had the potential to be one of the most devastating in the region. In July, the United States consul general in Nigeria, Jeffrey Hawkins, said, "The last thing anyone in the world wants to hear is the two words, 'Ebola' and 'Lagos' in the same sentence."

The BBC reports:

The outbreak there began when Patrick Sawyer, an American-Liberian citizen, was diagnosed with the illness in July.

Nigeria declared a national public health emergency and Mr. Sawyer later died of the disease, followed by seven Nigerians.

These included Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, who diagnosed Mr. Sawyer and is credited with helping to contain the outbreak at its source.

Dr. Adavedoh's son, Bankole Cardoso, told the BBC that because Mr. Sawyer had been so quickly diagnosed, Nigeria was able to trace all those who could possibly have contracted the disease from him.

"That was probably the difference between us and our West African neighbours," he said.

On Friday, the WHO announced that Senegal had successfully defeated the Ebola outbreak and commended the country's efforts at containing the disease, although noted that the country's geographic position makes it vulnerable to new cases.

Meanwhile, 43 people in Texas who were being monitored for the virus after coming into contact with Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan were officially cleared of the disease after 21 days of showing no signs of infection.

"Thankfully they are all asymptomatic, and it looks like none of them will get Ebola," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Monday.

Among those cleared is Louise Troh, Duncan's fiancée, who spent several days in the same apartment with Duncan while he was sick. "We are so happy this is coming to an end, and we are so grateful that none of us has shown any sign of illness," Troh said in a statement. "We have lost so much, but we have our lives and we have our faith in God, which always gives us hope."

By Joanna Rothkopf

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Ebola Nigeria Senegal Texas World Health Organization