“This is a spectacular success story that shows that Ebola can be contained,” the WHO said in a statement, adding that Nigeria’s success could be a lesson for other countries in the world experiencing an outbreak. “Many wealthy countries, with outstanding health systems, may have something to learn as well,” it added.

Ebola first arrived in Lagos, Nigeria—one of the largest cities in the world—on July 20. Global health officials feared the worst, warning that the disease could wreak untold havoc in the country.

But it hasn’t turned out that way. To date, Nigeria has reported only 20 confirmed or probable Ebola cases in a nation of 174 million people. Equally remarkable, there have only been eight deaths—about half the fatality rate experienced by other countries involved in the current outbreak. In fact, Nigeria could be declared Ebola-free as early as October 12. (That date would be 42 days after the last case was diagnosed, or double the maximum amount of time needed for the disease to incubate in a human body—the standard used by global health authorities.) [Read more]

 

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