Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 September 2015
Sierra Leone has experienced another setback in its fight to see off what has now become the tail-end of the Ebola crisis.
With Kambia in the northern region of the country still struggling to eradicate the virus from its community, one person has died of the virus in the neighbouring Bombali district.
Prior to Monday’s announcement of the death of a young woman in Bombali, the district had achieved 166 days without any report of a new case of the disease.
It is still not clear how the deceased woman contracted the virus, but there are speculations that the virus may have been transmitted through sexual contact with a man who perhaps had recovered from the disease.
All known contacts of the diseased have been quarantined, and measures put in place by the authorities to contain the risks of transmission across the district and to other parts of the country, especially the capital Freetown, which has so far done 38 days without any new case.
Over one thousand people have contracted the virus in the Bombali district. And in the capital Freetown, which has one of the highest tolls with a cumulative total of cases reaching almost 3,500, there is the constant risk of the virus spreading from the north.
Across the country with a population of 6 million, almost 4,000 people have so far died of Ebola since May 2014 – when official counting began.
This week’s resurgence of Ebola in the Bombali district, marks a major shift in the understanding of how the virus is transmitted and how best to eradicate the disease.
A new vaccine is being trialed in Sierra Leone, and it is hoped that by treating contacts of those that have contracted the virus, could help stem transmission.
This is what the ministry of health says about this new outbreak in Bombali:
“The new case is a 16-year old who died at the IMC treatment centre in Mateneh, Bombali on September 13, 2015. Her swab is laboratory EVD positive. The source of the infection is currently unknown.
“Whilst disappointing, the NERC technical partners; the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the WHO have prepared us for this as we are in an ongoing outbreak. Bombali District has not reported a case for 169 days, however, this does not mean it is not ready to respond.
“With established structures and processes already in place, the NERC and its partners have already made adequate preparations to move in swiftly to reinforce the existing capacity of the DERC in Bombali.
“NERC wishes to thank the Bombali DERC and the people of Bombali for their swift response so far to control this situation and encourage them to remain focused on the response.
“The general public is requested to remain calm despite the understandable frustration that this new development has brought.
“More information will be relayed to the general public as the investigation and response activities proceed. Together, we will defeat Ebola.”