New Ebola case confirmed day after end declared

Ebola, UN, WHO
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A new case of Ebola has been confirmed in Sierra Leone, one day after world health officials declared an end to the outbreak. 

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Still, while the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that there had been no new cases in 42 days in all three of the hardest hit countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone), it warned that “flare-ups” of the disease were possible. 

The WHO emphasized Friday that the possibility of a small number of new cases was expected and that Sierra Leone authorities are acting quickly to prevent the spread of the virus.

“WHO stressed in a statement yesterday (14 January), that Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone remain at high risk of additional small outbreaks of Ebola in the coming months due to the virus persisting in survivors after recovery,” the organization said in a statement on Friday, referring to the previous declaration that the countries were Ebola free.

The Ebola outbreak briefly played into U.S. politics and the midterm elections in the fall of 2014. A Liberian man in Dallas was diagnosed with the virus, and the Obama administration and local officials were faulted for their initial response, in which two nurses contracted it as well. 

Many Republicans called for a travel ban on people coming from the three hardest-hit African countries, which the White House resisted and did not impose. 

Over 11,000 people have died in West Africa since the outbreak began.