26 May 2014

Sierra Leone Confirms First Ebola Death

Photo: Ismail Kasooha/New Vision
Health workers preparing to handle Ebola patients at Kagadi Hospital in Uganda.

At least one person has died after contracting Ebola, according to Sierra Leone's health ministry. The deadly virus has killed over a hundred in West Africa in recent months.

After watching the Ebola virus spread across neighboring Guinea since January, officials confirmed on Monday that it had crossed into Sierra Leone, killing at least one person.

"I can categorically confirm that the Ebola sickness has materialized," health ministry official Amara Jambai told news agency AFP.

Authorities suspected several other deaths had also been caused by the virus, however that had not yet been officially determined.

"Of the four deaths only one has been confirmed as dying from Ebola after two independent tests at the Kenema Laboratory Centre. The cause of death of the other three is still being investigated," Jambai said.

A separate report from the World Health Organization indicated that the number of fatalities could be as high as five, according to news agency Reuters.

The cases reported on Monday originated in the Koindu region of the west African country, which borders Guinea, where over 100 people have died in the epidemic.

Hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola usually spread through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person, or objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions. The Ebola virus leads to severe hemorrhagic fever and internal bleeding. There is no vaccine or specific treatment.

 - AFP, Reuters

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