- The World Health Organization declares Senegal free from Ebola
- The country had only one case, an infected man who entered by road from Guinea
- He recovered and 42 days have now passed without another case emerging, WHO says
- "An immediate, broad-based, and well-coordinated response can stop the Ebola virus," it says
The West African nation of Senegal is free of Ebola, the World Health Organization declared Friday, congratulating the country on the diligence that enabled it to repel the threat.
Senegal had only one case, a man who had entered the country by road from Guinea, where he'd had direct contact with an Ebola patient.
The government's response included identifying and monitoring 74 close contacts made by the man for signs of infection.
It also introduced prompt testing of all suspected cases, increased surveillance at entry points to Senegal and nationwide public awareness campaigns, the WHO statement said.
The patient recovered from Ebola and tested negative for the virus on September 5, the statement said. He's since returned to Guinea.
Since then, 42 days have passed -- double the maximum known incubation period for the virus -- without another case, allowing Senegal to be declared free of Ebola.
When the case was first detected, WHO treated it as a public health emergency it said, sending a team of epidemiologists to help local health officials and international partners such as Doctors Without Borders manage the situation.
"The most important lesson for the world at large is this: An immediate, broad-based, and well-coordinated response can stop the Ebola virus, carried into a country in an infected traveler, dead in its tracks," WHO said.
WHO sounded a note of caution, however, given that Senegal shares a border with Guinea, a hotspot for the disease along with Sierra Leone and Liberia.
"While the outbreak is now officially over, Senegal's geographical position makes the country vulnerable to additional imported cases of Ebola virus disease," it said.