After Merck’s Experimental Ebola Vaccine Deployed, A New Countdown To An “Ebola-Free” Africa Continues. . . .

Now, if all goes well, we will continue our count-down, well-into the second 21 day period — hoping to reach 42 days in total — since the last person in Africa who had tested positive for Ebola virus was deemed cured.

As we had previously reported, the latest flare up occurred in mid-January in Sierra Leone. All the contacts (and contacts of contacts — numbering 214 people in all) of those two cases were given Merck’s experimental Ebola vaccine candidate shortly thereafter, and all have been released from a voluntary quarantine — as of February 4, 2016.

Now the world waits — until St. Patrick’s Day (as luck would have it) — for a new declaration from the WHO, that all of Africa is free of the Ebola virus, effectively ending the 2013-2015 outbreak. Here is a bit of the WHO report, form earlier this week:

. . . .Sierra Leone is once again counting down the days until the latest flare-up of Ebola can be declared over. As part of the inter-agency response to the flare-up, dozens of people who were in contact with two individuals who had tested positive for Ebola were isolated and placed under medical observation. With the monitoring period now over, they are breathing a sigh of relief as their lives get back to normal. . . .

For the contacts of the two [latest cases], all of whom have since been discharged from medical monitoring, those three weeks of isolation were an uneasy period of fear and uncertainty.

[The daughter of one of those quarantined] said the 21 days her mother was in a voluntary quarantine facility felt like it would never end. . . .

But [her mother] did not fall ill. She was among over 100 contacts visited and monitored three times a day by a team of district health and emergency specialists and WHO staff. And she was one of 214 contacts, and contacts of contacts, who received a dose of the experimental Ebola vaccine as a means of containing the flare-up. . . .

So once again — we will look forward to a particularly joyous St. Patrick’s celebration this year — if all goes well. Onward, grinning widely. . . be good to one another!


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