The worst outbreak of Ebola on record that killed thousands and caused global panic in 2014 was largely brought under control this year.
Sierra Leone and Guinea, two of the countries at the center of the epidemic, were declared to be free of Ebola as 2015 drew to a close. Liberia, the site of the most Ebola deaths, is the only country where there recently have been new cases. Patients there were diagnosed with Ebola in November after the World Health Organization twice declared the country free of the virus.
Doctors, nurses and other officials combatting the outbreak succeeded at slowing the transmission of Ebola in 2015. This year, 3,411 people died from the disease and there were 8,430 cases, according to the WHO. The year before saw 7,889 fatal cases and 20,171 people infected.
The countries directly affected by the virus and the international community failed to quickly respond after the WHO officially identified the Ebola outbreak in March 2014.
The epidemic highlighted a variety of systemic flaws in West Africa that experts said hindered the response from politicians and health organizations. The public health departments in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone operate with limited resources. But the tide turned by opening hospitals and treatment centers, educating the public that the disease is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids and distributing promising experimental drugs.
Though there were only a handful of infected patients in Liberia in December, that does not mean the disease is on the verge of being eradicated. Doctors believe that animals carry the virus, so Ebola could flare up again if a person comes into contact with an infected creature.
While government officials and health organizations struggled with the raging epidemic early in 2015, they gradually brought it under control. Here's a look at how the crisis unfolded this year in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.