CONAKRY (Reuters) - A baby girl in Guinea, who was the last known Ebola patient in a two-year regional epidemic, has recovered from the disease but remained under surveillance at a medical facility in the capital Conakry on Tuesday, health officials said.
The baby’s recovery means that Guinea, the last country still battling the virus, can begin its 42-day countdown to declaring an end to outbreak. In a major breakthrough, neighboring Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free on Nov. 7.
“We did two tests that turned up negative. She is completely cured of Ebola,” said Fodé Tass Sylla, spokesman for Guinea’s Ebola coordination unit.
The baby, named Nubia, was born on Oct. 27 in the Nongo Ebola treatment center to an infected mother who did not survive. Nubia received treatment from medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).
“We are pleased that she has been tested negative, but as she is the first infected baby to have recovered, she will continue to receive specialized medical support before going back home,” said Laurence Sailly, MSF’s emergency coordinator in Guinea.
Sixty-eight people who had been in contact with the country’s last cluster of patients and were deemed at risk of developing the hemorrhagic fever were released from quarantine on Saturday.
The epidemic, the worst known Ebola outbreak in history, began in Guinea’s forest region nearly two years ago and has since killed around 11,300 people, nearly all of them in West African neighbors Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Emma Farge and Joe Bavier; Editing by Jermey Gaunt