January 13, 2016 6:56 pm

West Africa on cusp of being declared Ebola free: UN chief

In this Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 file photo, Nine-year-old Nowa Paye is taken to an ambulance after showing signs of the Ebola infection in the village of Freeman Reserve, about 30 miles north of Monrovia, Liberia.

AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File

The United Nations secretary-general is celebrating the impending end of West Africa’s Ebola epidemic with cautious relief.

Ban Ki-moon says West Africa is on “the cusp of being declared free of Ebola transmission.” That will happen Thursday when Liberia officially joins Guinea and Sierra Leone in being declared Ebola-free.

The U.N. chief marked the milestone while speaking at a General Assembly meeting Wednesday.

The World Health Organization declares that Ebola disease transmission has ended when a country goes through two incubation periods – 21 days each – without a new case emerging. Sierra Leone reached that goal on Nov. 7 and Guinea on Dec. 29.

Ban warned the world not to lets its guard down, saying future flare-ups can be expected.

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