WHO: This West African Country Is Ebola Free. Can US Do It Too?

Suzanne Robertson
Nigeria has had no new cases of the virus since September 5.

On July 20th, Ebola came to Nigeria on an airplane. But just 3 short months later, the World Health Organization declared Nigeria "Ebola Free". There were only 8 deaths in the country due to the deadly virus. 

WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz told a news conference,  “This is a spectacular success story … It shows that Ebola can be contained but we must be clear that we have only won a battle. The war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola.”

Ebola came to that country when a man with Ebola flew from the heart of the epidemic in Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. In just a few weeks, 19 people across two states were diagnosed with the disease. 

But rather than descending into epidemic, there has not been a new case of the virus since September 5. 

So how was a country this large able to eradicate Ebola completely? Officials were diligent and quickly took the steps below: 


  • Fast and thorough tracing of all potential contacts
  • Ongoing monitoring of all of these contacts
  • Rapid isolation of potentially infectious contacts
  • Vigilant disinfecting 
  • Port-of-entry screening


While Ebola is out, other health problems remain in Nigeria. Health care and living conditions in Nigeria are poor. Life expectancy is 52 years and just over half the population has access to potable water and appropriate sanitation. Infant mortality is 97.1 deaths per 1000 live births.