November 7 was a great day for Sierra Leone as the World Health Organization declared the nation to be Ebola-free.
Ebola is a very infectious disease and can make people extremely sick. The disease is caused by an infection with one of the Ebola virus species. It can be transmitted to humans from animals who have the virus (such as fruit bats). The infection can then be passed on from one person to the other through blood, sweat, and other bodily fluids.
Some West African nations have been struggling with an Ebola outbreak which was first reported in March last year in Guinea. The disease spread rapidly and the worst affected nations were Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Over 11,000 people have died, and the majority of them have been in these three nations. When the outbreak started, there was no known cure for it. Today, there are still no licensed Ebola vaccines, but there are some vaccines that are being examined.
Liberia was declared Ebola-free in May this year. However, a new Ebola case was reported in June. As of September, Liberia has been Ebola-free. Guinea is still not Ebola-free.
Freetown is the capital of Sierra Leone. It was founded in 1792 as a place to live mainly for freed African-American slaves. Other freed African slaves were also sent there, and hence the name “Freetown”. According to legend, the freed slaves rested and prayed under the Cotton Tree (image) when they first arrived. Today, the tree is a famous landmark of the city.
A Ghanaian dance called “Azonto” is popular in some West African nations. Here is a video showing folks in Sierra Leone doing Azonto dance moves to celebrate the end of the Ebola outbreak. There is also a video about Ebola.
Did you know?
Sierra Leone is famous for its diamonds. The Star of Sierra Leone is the name of one of the largest gem-quality diamonds ever discovered.
Image Credits: www.nachc.com for Ebola image, http://freetown.usembassy.gov/ for the Cotton Tree image
Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/, http://www.who.int/, http://www.amusingplanet.com/, http://freetown.usembassy.gov/, BBC, http://www.koiduholdings.com