THE world is on the brink of another Ebola outbreak according to UN chiefs who issued a dangerous warning just as health experts announce the epidemic is over.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s dire prediction comes on the eve of confirmation all known chains of Ebola transmission have been stopped in West Africa.
The World Health Organisation will later today announce the end of the recent flare-up in Liberia.
But Ki-Moon fears a repeat of the 2014 outbreak which killed more than 11,000 people.
In a speech celebrating the end of the world’s worst outbreak of the disease, Ki-moon issued a grim reminder to the UN General Assembly.
He said: “We can anticipate future flare-ups of Ebola in the coming year.
“Liberia’s experience in combating two flare-ups has shown the resilience and capacity of the affected countries to reactivate emergency response mechanisms and contain the virus.”
Since December 2013, when Ebola broke out in Guinea, more than 11,000 people have died across West Africa and nearly 30,000 people infected
Both Guinea and Sierra Leone were declared Ebola-free late last year.
For the first time since the outbreak began, all three countries will have registered zero cases in at least 42 days, which is twice the incubation period for the virus.
Since March last year, there have been 10 minor flare-ups of infections across the region
World Health Organisation director Margaret Chan added the virus can persist in some Ebola survivors even after they have fully recovered.
She revealed it won’t be until the end of 2016 that “all survivors will have cleared the virus from their bodies.”
Dr Chan called the next three months “the most critical”, as foreign medical groups shut down operations in West Africa and national health ministries take over.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of those infected.
Some of the early symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, fatigue and sore throat, which are followed by vomiting and diarrhea.