Speaking in the capital Abuja, Rui Gama Vaz (WHO representative) said that it was a “spectacular success story”.
“This is a spectacular success story. It shows that Ebola can be contained but we must be clear that we have only won a battle, the war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola”, he said.
The disease gained entry into the country in July when Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, came in on diplomatic assignment.
Nigeria had 20 cases in total, of which eight died.
The outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
An estimated 70% of those infected have died in those countries.
Recall that on October 17, 2014, Friday, the WHO officially declared Senegal Ebola-free.
Official Statement By World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative, Rui Gama Vaz:
”Today 20th October, 42 days(twice the incubation period) after the last confirmed case of Ebola Virus Disease was discharged from the isolation ward having tested negative for Ebola virus, the chains of transmission have been broken.
“WHO officially declares that Nigeria is now free of Ebola virus transmission. The virus is gone for now. The outbreak in Nigeria has been contained. But we must be clear that we only won a battle. The war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola.
“While the outbreak is now officially over, Nigeria’s geographical position and extensive borders makes the country vulnerable to additional imported cases of Ebola Virus Disease. It is therefore critical to continue vigilance for any suspected cases by strict compliance with WHO EVD preparedness guidelines. Therefore there is need to continue to work together with states to ensure adequate preparedness to rapidly respond, in case of any potential re-importation.”
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has welcomed the declaration by WHO, saying it was a globally-acclaimed success against.
Briefing State House correspondents in Abuja, on Monday, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said the president had dedicated the certification to the “many patriotic health workers, volunteers and ordinary Nigerians, who worked tirelessly, some of them paying the ultimate price, to stop the deadly virus in its track, after it entered the country in July.”
Jonathan reiterated his appreciation of the contributions of state governments, WHO and other international health organisations, relatives of infected persons and other Nigerians, who either courageously underwent the rigours of being quarantined or complied with all directives issued by health authorities to defeat the virus.
“As the nation applauds the success of its collective effort to stop the transmission of the Ebola virus within Nigeria, the president warns that the entire country must remain fully alert and vigilant against the re-entry of the virus.”
The president urged all Nigerians to continue to follow the anti-Ebola advisories on sanitation and personal hygiene, issued by federal and state health authorities.