The West African nation of Sierra Leone is declared Ebola-free following 42 days with no new cases. Julie Noce reports.
(nats"Today Sierra Leone marks the end of the ebola outbreak" ) Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma made the announcement during a ceremony after being declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization. The country has gone 42 days without any new cases and will now enter a 90 day period of surveillance to ensure early detection of any possible new cases. The West African nation saw nearly 4,000 people lose their lives from the disease. Ebola killed more than 11,300 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea since March 2014. At the height of the epidemic, authorities in Sierra Leone and Liberia ordered people to stay indoors for days at a time in an attempt to identify new cases and slow the disease's spread. In Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital, thousands of people gathered for a candlelit vigil to remember the some 200 health workers who died. Residents also celebrated the end of the epidemic, which forced schools to close, overwhelmed healthcare systems and hurt the local economy. Liberia was declared Ebola free in September. Guinea is still treating a handful of cases.