Ebola outbreak in West Africa no more a public health emergency
The 9th meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa took place by teleconference on Tuesday, 29 March 2016 .
The Committee noted that since its last meeting all three countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have met the criteria for confirming interruption of their original chains of Ebola virus transmission. Specifically, all three countries have now completed the 42 day observation period and additional 90 day enhanced surveillance period since their last case that was linked to the original chain of transmission twice tested negative. Guinea achieved this milestone on 27 March 2016.
The Committee ob- served that, as expected, new clusters of Ebola cases continue to occur due to reintroductions of virus as it is cleared from the survivor population, though at decreasing frequency. Twelve such clusters have been detected to date, the most recent of which was reported on 17 March 2016 in Guinea and is ongoing. The Committee was impressed that to date all of these clusters have been detected and responded to rapidly, limiting transmission to at most two generations of cases in the 11 clusters which have now been stopped.
Accordingly, in the Committee’s view the Ebola situation in West Africa no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern ( PHEIC ) and the Temporary Recommendations adopted in response should now be terminated. The Committee emphasized that there should be no restrictions on travel and trade with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and that any such measures should be lifted immediately.
The Director-General terminated the Temporary Recommendations that she had issued in relation to this event, supported the public health advice provided above by the Committee, and reinforced the importance of States Parties immediately lifting any restrictions on travel and trade with these countries.