The West African nation of Sierra Leone is re-starting the 42-day countdown to being declared free of transmission of the Ebola virus after a woman died of the deadly virus. It is a setback for the nation after it was declared Ebola free for two months. Health officials are now on the alert for more cases just as the deadliest outbreak on record appeared to be ending.
A 22-year-old woman who died of Ebola is the country’s newest case. Sidie Yahya Tunis, with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, says she was from the northern part of the country.
“They’ve done a preliminary investigation, they’ve been able to identify 27 contacts now isolated for further monitoring… and more investigation is being carried out and we’ll continue to bring more info to the public..the more we get,” he said.
Tunis says two households are currently under quarantine.
Outbreak just declared over
WHO declared the Ebola outbreak over in West Africa earlier this week, after no new cases emerged in Liberia. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were the three countries most affected by the worst Ebola out break in history, which began two years ago.
A health worker takes a man's temperature, center, before his is allowed to enter into a government building, with a message, right, reading "Kindly wash your hands before entering" the building in Monrovia, Liberia, Jan. 14, 2016.
Tunis, head of the External Communications Emergency Operation Center, adds that people may have started to be too relaxed after the country was announced Ebola free. This latest case may indicate they have gone back to old habits such as washing and touching a dead body. The virus is transmitted through bodily fluids and is most contagious at death.
"It is still preliminary but is highly possible considering the fact that person died at home and was buried in the community, so it’s highly likely the body was washed,” he said.
More 11,000 people died from this latest Ebola outbreak, almost four thousand in Sierra Leone.
Ebola cases in West Africa