Sierra Leone may be over its health woes as it has released its last known Ebola patient.
According to the World Health Organisation, 35-year-old Adama Sankoh was discharged from a treatment centre in the northern Bombali district on Monday morning.
The country has not reported a new infection for more than two weeks, according to the National Ebola Response Centre.
However, a small number of cases are still being reported in neighbouring Guinea.
The milestone comes 15 months after the outbreak was declared in Sierra Leone. Almost 4,000 people have died of Ebola in that country since then.
The country’s President Ernest Bai Koroma attended the celebrations at the clinic run by International Medical Corps.
The Medical Director at the facility, Vanessa Wolfman, expressed hope that this might be the end of EVD in the country.
She said, “Today is a day of hope. People hope this is the beginning of the end. We have fought for so long.”
But the celebrations are tempered with caution. The country still has 28 people in quarantine. They will continue to be monitored until the end of the week in case they develop symptoms.
The Director of the situation room of NERC, OB Sisay, said, “We might have hidden cases, so we have to continue to be vigilant, continue our surveillance, maintain our discipline of hand-washing and temperature checks, screening and avoid over-crowding.”
The outbreak won’t be declared over until 42 days after the last Ebola patient either dies or is discharged. That 42-day limit is twice the incubation period of the virus.
While there have been no new cases in Sierra Leone for the past 17 days, according to NERC, Guinea reported three new infections in the week up to 19th August.
Sisay said, “We are very worried about Guinea. We are fervently hoping that they will make the same progress as we have Guinea’s problem is our problem.”
The NERC said it would continue with heightened surveillance, and specific anti-Ebola safe burial practices, for three months after the outbreak is officially declared over.