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Health

The World’s First Ebola Outbreak Since 2014 Has Officially Ended

The World Health Organization's ebola vaccine trial team in Guinea in 2015. (WHO/S. Hawkey)

The world’s first ebola outbreak since the deadly epidemic in 2014 is now officially over, according to the World Health Organization.

Eight cases of the disease were diagnosed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with four deaths and four individuals surviving. The outbreak was magnitudes smaller in scale than the crisis that wracked several West African countries three years ago, killing 11,000 people.

Officials were first notified of the ebola case on May 11. The disease had popped up in the remote, forested northeastern region of DRC, a sparsely-populated area that the WHO said posed serious logistical challenges for distributing vaccines and treatment, according to Voice Of America.

And though an experimental ebola vaccine was available, the emerging crisis in DRC was quashed through the rapid response of medical professionals rather than use of the vaccine, according to VOA.

Read More: Fearing Second Outbreak, Congo to Start Using a New Ebola Vaccine

The World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention responded quickly to signs of DRC’s emerging ebola outbreak, sending “disease detectives” to help track down those who might be at risk, according to NBC.

Within days of the initial report, the country and international health community announced a response plan and deployed health teams, including epidemiologists, logisticians, communicators, psychologists, and data managers to the area. They also had three mobile laboratories and an Ebola Treatment Center set up to isolate patients and treat them there, to help prevent the spread of the disease, according to the WHO.

The $8 million response plan appeared to work.

More than 500 people were being monitored for signs of the disease, but no new diagnoses have been made over the course of 42 days — twice the amount of time it takes the disease to incubate and appear.

“I declare on this day, at midnight, the end of the outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever of the Ebola virus in DRC,” Health Minister Oly Ilunga said in a statement.

Read More: Nations Must Invest More in Pandemic Prevention, World Bank Says

It was the DRC’s eighth ebola outbreak, and officials were prepared to respond quickly, WHO said.

“With the end of this epidemic, DRC has once again proved to the world that we can control the very deadly Ebola virus if we respond early in a coordinated and efficient way,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.