Ebola outbreak declared officially over, as World Health Organisation says all lines of transmission are stopped

The UN agency's announcement brings to an end two years of horror — though it does not mean that the disease will not return

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The Independent Online

The World Health Organisation has announced that the two-year Ebola outbreak is finally over.

The UN agency said that Liberia is free of the disease, reports AFP. The announcement will mark 42 days since the last Ebola cases in the country were tested negative, according to a statement.

Guinea and Sierra Leone, where the Ebola outbreak also raged, had already been declared free of the virus. But Liberia was hit hardest, with 4,800 people dying in the outbreak.

The country discharged its last two patients in early December. Those last patients have been repeatedly tested ahead of the important 42-day period, which represents twice the disease’s incubation period.

The Ebola outbreak, which lasted two years, led to 11,315 lives, according to official data. But it is likely to have affected far more people and that number is thought to be an underestimate.

The long-term effects of Ebola are still unknown. Pauline Cafferkey, who caught the disease while treating patients in Sierra Leone, appeared to be hit by problems arising from her infection months after she was clear.