WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today released this statement on the World Health Organization’s declaration of the end of the Ebola outbreak:
“Since the start of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa nearly two years ago, more than 28,500 people have been infected and more than 11,000 have lost their lives, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. So the world should breathe a sigh of relief that not a single new case has been reported in the last six weeks.
“The Administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak represented the best of our country's spirit and values. Without the incredible effort by the Centers for Disease Control, USAID, the US military, and other government agencies, this outbreak could have been even worse. Frontline health workers in West Africa were also crucial in stemming the spread of the epidemic, putting themselves at significant personal risk and bearing the brunt of the infection’s spread. Notably, Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh made the ultimate sacrifice in preventing what could have been a catastrophic Ebola outbreak in Nigeria. Her worked showed us the importance of investing in local health systems so they are resilient enough to get through future health crises. Partner governments and non-governmental organizations also played vital roles getting us to this point.
“Although all known chains of transmission have ceased in West Africa, the WHO warns that Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea still face serious risk of small outbreaks, likely due to the virus persisting in survivors. I support the WHO’s efforts to ensure Ebola survivors have access to care and screening for remnants of the virus, along with assistance reentering community life, mitigating stigma, and minimizing the remaining risk of transmission. The Ebola outbreak may be over, but we must stay focused on easing the region's recovery and learning the lessons of the episode in an effort to improve our response in the future."