Sierra Leone declared Ebola free after 42 days without reports of the virus

People celebrate in Freetown as Sierra Leone is declared 'Ebola Free' Credit: MSF

Sierra Leone has been declared free of Ebola, following 42 days with no new cases of the virus reported.

People took to the streets of the capital Freetown at midnight to celebrate the ending of the epidemic in the country.

People took to the streets at midnight. Credit: Twitter/MSF

The World Health Organisation (WHO) made the official announcement at a ceremony attended by President Ernest Bai Koroma and UNWorld Health Organization (WHO) representative Anders Nordstrom on Saturday.

Nearly 4,000 people died from the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

The country's first confirmed Ebola survivor, Victoria Yillia, told the crowd she was "happy that this disease which almost killed me has finally ended".

She appealed to authorities not to forget survivors, many of whom have faced social stigma and persistent health problems.

The country will now enter a 90-day period of heightened surveillance to make sure the virus does not return.

Schoolchildren dance in delight the outbreak has ended. Credit: YouTube/Mict

Pete Jones, Ebola response manager for the British Red Cross, said that while the news meant there was "so much to celebrate in Sierra Leone", the virus remains present in the region and "there is a real possibility that it will resurface".

*Watch the country celebrate being Ebola free in this YouTube video *

Neighbouring Liberia was declared free of Ebola in May, only to see the disease resurface six weeks later. It was again declared free of the deadly virus in September.

Guinea, which borders Sierra Leone, has seen four new cases recorded over the past fortnight.

While Sierra Leone has seen no new cases of Ebola in more than 40 days, Pauline Cafferkey, the British nurse who contracted Ebola while working there, remains in the Royal Free Hospital in north-west London.

Pauline Cafferkey remains in the Royal Free Hospital in north-west London Credit: PA

Ms Cafferkey, from South Lanarkshire, was diagnosed in December after returning to Glasgow from the west African country via London.

She was re-hospitalised after she suffered a bout of meningitis and her condition worsened, but she has now been treated with the experimental drug GS5734.

She first contracted the disease while working as a nurse at the Save the Children treatment centre in Kerry Town.

A report found she was wearing a visor rather than more protective goggles, which she could not get to fit properly.