The World Health Organisation has said the Ebola epidemic that has killed 2,811 in West Africa has been contained in Senegal and Nigeria.

The UN health agency said on Monday that Senegal had not reported any new cases of the virus since the first case was reported on August 29, while the last case reported in Nigeria was on September 8.

"On the whole, the outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria are pretty much contained," a WHO statement said.

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The incubation period for Ebola is 21 days, and double that time must pass without any new cases arising before a country can be deemed transmission-free.

Both Senegal and Nigeria implemented strict measures to isolate the ill and track down further possible cases. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have failed to impose such steos, allowing the disease to take hold.

The announcement came as Nigerian students prepared to return to school after an enforced summer break because of Ebola.

However, the WHO said the world's worst outbreak of the virus remained a "public health emergency of international concern."

The WHO, also said a total of 5,864 people had been infected in five west African countries as of September 18, and had claimed 181 lives since the last death toll of 2,630 was issued on September 14.

Guinea, where the outbreak began at the start of the year, and neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone by far account for most of the cases and continue to see ballooning numbers.

Liberia had been hit hardest, with 1,578 deaths from 3,022 cases.

The spread of the disease has threatened to undo progress made in rebuilding Liberia and Sierra Leone after their wars of the 1990s, and exposed the fragility of the state in Guinea.

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Source: Agencies