After two years, the West African country of Guinea has finally been declared Ebola-free, according to the World Health Organization.
Ebola first emerged in Guinea in 2013.
After suffering from headache, fever, and bloody diarrhea, 2-year-old Emile Ouamouno died in December 2013 in Meliandou village. Days later, Philomene, his 3-year-old sister, and Sia, his pregnant mother, would also die, leaving behind heartbroken Father and husband Etienne.
Since then 2,536 people would die from Ebola in Guinea, with another 3,955 dying in Sierra Leone and 4,806 losing their lives to the virus in Liberia.
In order for a country to be declared Ebola-free, it has to pass two 21-day periods without a new infection.
That is why Guinea’s new status is especially significant and the WHO lauded Guineans for their “extraordinary leadership in fighting the epidemic.”
One Ebola survivor, Alama Kambou Dore, reportedly told AFP news, “It’s the best year-end present that God could give to Guinea, and the best news that Guineans could hope for.”
Still, officials warned Guineans to be especially careful.
“The coming months will be absolutely critical,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward from the WHO’s Ebola response team.
“This is the period when the countries need to be sure that they are fully prepared to prevent, detect and respond to any new cases.”
Guinea will likely celebrate its hard-won status with fireworks and concerts.