The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday that West Africa's Ebola outbreak is no longer a global health emergency, however, the WHO noted, a high level of vigilance must be still maintained.
Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever transmitted by the Ebola viruses. The virus spreads by direct contact with body fluids of an infected person or an animal. It has killed over 11,000 people globally since its outbreak in December 2013 and affected over 28,000 people.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said she has accepted the advice of the expert committee that the temporary recommendations adopted in response to the Ebola situation in West Africa should now be terminated.
She added, however, that a high level of vigilance and response capacity must be maintained to ensure the ability of countries to prevent Ebola infections and to rapidly detect and respond to flare-ups in the future.
Chan said the three most affected countries in West Africa â€“ Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone â€“ have now the world's largest pool of expertise in responding to Ebola.
The WHO has kept its experienced staff teams available in the West African countries to respond to any emergency. "These response teams have access to vaccination as a powerful containment tool," Chan added.
The WHO laboratory partners are now researching on the viruses from individual patients to detect the source of transmission.
The expert committee seconded the WHO's view that the current national and international response capacity is sufficient to tackle any new cases of Ebola quickly and the likelihood of international spread by air travel is extremely low, the D-G, WHO, said.