15 January 2016

Sierra Leone: Ebola Setback for WHO As Sierra Leone Patient Dies After All-Clear

Photo: UNICEF / Tanya Bindra
Volunteers go door-to-door telling residents of Freetown how to prevent the virus (fie photo).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has suffered a setback after Sierra Leone health officials confirmed a new death from Ebola just a day after the global agency declared an end of the deadly outbreak in West Africa.

The Sierra Leone female patient, who had travelled from Kambia close to the border with Guinea, died in Tonkolili district in north of the country.

WHO had declared Sierra Leone free of the virus on November 7, and on Thursday gave Liberia an all-clear, marking the end of a two-year Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people in the region.

The announcement came 42 days (equivalent to two 21-day incubation periods of the virus) after the last confirmed patient tested negative for the disease.

While giving the all-clear, WHO warned though that "more flare-ups are expected" and urged for strong surveillance and response systems in the months to follow.

Liberia was the first to be declared Ebola-free in May last year, but the virus has resurfaced twice since then, with the latest flare-up in November.

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