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Anti-Ebola fight achieves temporary victory worldwide

Updated: 2014-10-21 15:44

BEIJING -- The global fight against the deadly Ebola virus has achieved a temporary victory but more efforts are needed to contain the disease after it has affected 9,216 people and claimed 4,555 lives.

At a press conference on Monday in Dallas, the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in the United States, officials declared that 43 people who may have had contact with Tomas Eric Duncan, the first diagnosed Ebola patient on U.S. soil, free of the virus.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings called the day a "milestone day," implying that the first group of people possibly exposed to Ebola in the country are cleared of the risk now.

"We are breathing a little easier," Rawlings said, "but we are still holding our breath a fair amount until Nov. 7."

The mayor said 120 people on the watch list, 75 of them hospital staffers involved in treating Duncan, will come out of the quarantine period on Nov. 7. The incubation period of Ebola is 21 days at most, and the virus is communicable only after symptoms are shown.

In Europe, Teresa Romero, a Spanish nurse who earlier this month became the first person outside of Africa to be infected by Ebola, showed to have "zero virus" in her blood on Sunday, local media reported Monday.

Romero will undergo a second test this week to confirm the results of Sunday's test, which if positive, will mean she has recovered from the virus.

Silje Michalsen, a Norwegian doctor who was infected with the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, has been discharged from hospital after recovering from the deadly disease, doctors at Oslo's Ulleval hospital said Monday.

Michalsen had been working for Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone for months when she developed a fever on Oct. 2 and tested Ebola positive the next day. She said she was happy with her fast evacuation on Oct. 6 from Sierra Leone to Norway for treatment.

In Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared Nigeria Ebola-free on Monday, after no new cases were confirmed in the past 42 days.

"This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be contained," WHO Country Representative in Nigeria Rui Dama Gaz said, noting the war against the disease will only end in the region when West Africa is also declared free.

Nigeria was the second country in West Africa to be declared Ebola-free in the past week. On Friday, the UN health agency declared Senegal free of Ebola after it passed the 42-day landmark.

When the world is cautiously optimistic about the combat to contain the Ebola disease, developed countries are rethinking the lapses that emerged when treating Ebola patients, while developing countries are endeavoring to be prepared for possible outbreak.

On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines for how health workers should gear up to treat Ebola patients.

The guidelines call for face shields, hoods, boot covers and other garb that leave no part of the body exposed. They also call for a trained monitor to supervise the donning and doffing of protective wear. And they call for repeated training and practice.

Related stories:

Nigeria declared Ebola-free after containing virus

China, France to join hands to combat Ebola

Liberia president describes heavy cost of Ebola

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