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Statement on the end of Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone

7 November 2015

Responding to the news that Saturday (November 7th) marks 42 days since Sierra Leone’s last confirmed case of Ebola, meaning the country will reach the World Health Organisation’s benchmark for being free of Ebola transmission, Pete Jones, Ebola Response Manager for the British Red Cross said:

“There is so much to celebrate in Sierra Leone today. When the Ebola outbreak was at its peak last year, it felt like this day might never come. The fact that it has is down to the thousands of volunteers and health workers, from Sierra Leone and overseas, who day after day have cared for patients, buried the dead and worked in communities to improve understanding of Ebola – in doing so, taking huge personal risk and often suffering stigma.”

“Sadly, however, this is only the beginning of the end. With Ebola still present in neighbouring Guinea, and much that is still unknown about the virus, there is a real possibility that it will resurface in Sierra Leone – one that we need to treat as a case of when, rather than if.”

“It’s therefore vital that, as well as helping Sierra Leone to rebuild as it emerges from over eighteen months of fighting Ebola, we remain vigilant and make sure that the country is able to respond quickly to any future outbreaks. Only by ensuring that communities are better prepared will we be able to ensure that a crisis on this scale is never seen again.”

Notes to editors:

For more information or interviews please contact Anna MacSwan on or 0207 877 7519

The World Health Organisation will declare the end of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone on 7 November, provided there are no new cases

The Red Cross Red Crescent movement has been involved in all aspects of the Ebola response in Sierra Leone over the last 18 months, including running two Ebola Treatment Centres, conducting safe and dignified burials, community surveillance and education, contact tracing and providing psychosocial support

The Red Cross will continue to support the Ebola response and recovery in Sierra Leone through community surveillance and education and stands ready to scale up operations if needed.