Ebola transmission ends in Guinea with help of Red Cross

Topics: West Africa Ebola Virus, Africa
January 08, 2016

Ebola transmission ends in Guinea with help of Red Cross December 29, 2015 marked a key and exciting milestone in efforts to end the deadly Ebola epidemic in West Africa. It was the day the World Health Organization declared the end of Ebola transmission in Guinea – where the first case of the deadly disease was confirmed in March 2014.

Of more than 28,600 suspected or confirmed cases worldwide, all but 35 were confined to three countries; Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. With more than 11,300 deaths, it was the deadliest outbreak of the virus in recorded history.

The Canadian Red Cross responded by deploying doctors, nurses, technicians, support staff, and resources, and providing funds to cover the costs associated with establishing treatment centres to aid in care and recovery. The Canadian Red Cross was one of the top contributors of aid workers within the Red Cross Movement, with 52 Canadians deployed, some going more than once.

Thanks to the generosity from Canadians, as well as corporate and government donors, the Canadian Red Cross raised more than $18.9 million to support those affected by Ebola.

Dr. Jamal Serrar, a Quebec-based emergency doctor, who spent a month working at a  Red Cross Ebola Treatment Centre at Forécariah, Guinea, got to share in the joyous news of a three-year-old girl’s recovery from Ebola. “For her alone - my mission was worth it,” Dr. Serrar said.

The Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, or through contact with contaminated areas, such as soiled clothing or bed linens. After a person has died from the virus their body carries a high viral load, which puts mourners at funerals at risk. Through education, medical assistance, clinic management, contact tracing and monitoring, and dignified burials, the Red Cross helped stem the spread of the virus.

The Ebola epidemic had a significant impact on the health care system and economy of the three hardest hit countries, which creates increased vulnerability in communities. The Red Cross Society of Guinea, along with National Societies like the Canadian Red Cross and partner organizations, will continue to work to strengthen communities so they are better prepared for any future health challenges and can avoid a return of the Ebola virus.

Learn more about the Canadian Red Cross’ Ebola response.