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New York Mayor declares city Ebola-free alongside cured patient

Mali, however, has recorded just its second death.

Dr. Craig Spencer is hugged by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio during a news conference.
Dr. Craig Spencer is hugged by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio during a news conference.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE LAST KNOWN Ebola patient in the United States has been declared cured and has stood side by side with Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce his discharge from hospital.

Craig Spencer, a 33-year-old emergency room doctor who contracted the virus while treating infected people in West Africa, appeared at a press conference with Mayor de Blasio to announce he had been released.

“New York City’s first and only Ebola case is successfully treated. Dr Spencer is Ebola-free and New York City is Ebola-free,” de Blasio proclaimed at the hospital, to cheers and applause.

Spencer said he was “healthy and no longer infectious”.

“My early detection reporting and now recovery from Ebola, speaks to the effectiveness of the protocols that are in place for health staff returning for from West Africa,” he said.

The US has treated nine victims of the virus, which spreads through contact with infected bodily fluids.

A total of 289 people in New York continue to be monitored for possible Ebola symptoms, including Spencer’s fiancee and staff who helped treat the doctor.

It comes as a second person from Mali has died from the virus, just as hardest-hit Liberia hailed a dramatic drop in infections.

The death of a nurse who had treated an Ebola patient from neighbouring Guinea came as a blow to authorities in Mali, just as they were beginning to lift quarantine restrictions on more than 100 people exposed to the country’s first victim of the virus.

The nurse had treated a Guinean patient at a clinic in the capital Bamako who was suffering from kidney failure and later died, medical sources said late Tuesday. Authorities now believe he had Ebola.

The case has raised fears of further contamination in Mali as the infection was unrelated to the country’s only other Ebola fatality, that of a two-year-old girl.

In Liberia there was better news as assistant health minister Tolbert Nyenswah said new cases had dropped from a daily peak of more than 500 to around 50, confirming tentative announcements by experts worldwide of an apparent slowdown in the epidemic.

“The numbers of cases are reducing,” he said, although he added that new cases were still emerging across the country.

The largest Ebola outbreak on record has killed some 5,000 people, with Liberia hit hardest and the contagion still raging in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The virus kills around 70% of its victims, often shutting down their organs and causing unstoppable bleeding.

Liberia Ebola By The Numbers Health care workers carry the body of a woman suspected of dying from Ebola in Liberia. Source: AP/Press Association Images

On Tuesday, Morocco was stripped of hosting football’s Africa Cup of Nations and flung out of the competition after insisting that it wanted to postpone the tournament due to fears over the virus. 

‘Still skyrocketing’ in Sierra Leone 

The White House has been at the forefront of the international response to the outbreak, committing hundreds of millions of dollars and announcing plans for Ebola treatment units across Liberia.

The first US-built centre opened on Monday in Tubmanburg, around 70km northwest of the capital Monrovia.

The day before the announcement of the new Malian case, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it had released from isolation 25 of more than 100 people thought to have come into contact with country’s first victim.

Two-year-old Fanta Conte died after returning from a trip to Guinea. The infection sparked panic as the toddler had travelled by bus and taxi with her grandmother, sister and uncle, making frequent stops on a trip of more than 1,200 km.

They also spent two hours in the capital Bamako, visiting relatives in a house of 25 people.

In Sierra Leone, WHO spokeswoman Winnie Romeril said the outbreak had stabilised in some areas but was “still skyrocketing” in the west of the country.

© – AFP 2014

Read: Google starts helping the fight against Ebola by donating €8 million >

Read: Zero… That’s how many Ebola patients are being treated right now at one centre in Liberia >

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