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SECOND EBOLA OUTBREAK DECLARED OVER

By Alhaji Mohamed Wusha Conteh 17th March 2016 updated 20:00

For the second time WHO and Sierra Leone Government had announced the end of Ebola transmission in the country, following a small cluster in Tonkolili district in January.

Sierra Leone reaching the Ebola-free mark meant—however briefly—that all three countries had been free of the virus. The designation signifies that two incubation periods have passed in Sierra Leone since the last patient tested negative for the virus on a second test.

"Today marks another milestone in the country's effort to defeat Ebola. WHO commends Sierra Leone's government, partners and people on the effective and swift response to this latest outbreak," the WHO said in a statement, which noted that 3,590 Ebola deaths were reported over the course of the outbreak in the country.

The WHO had again warned in its staement that a risk of recurrence remains, especially since survivors can harbor the virus in immune protected areas of the body. There have now been 12 Ebola flare-ups, with the previous 11 presumably linked to survivors.

The WHO expects the risk to decline as viral levels continue to taper off in the outbreak region's survivor population.