Sierra Leone has declared a state of emergency in a district where an outbreak of Ebola virus is spreading.
The government announced the closure of schools, movie theaters, nightclubs and trade fairs in the eastern district of Kailahun late Wednesday.
It also said all vehicles and their passengers entering the district are subject to screening at checkpoints.
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
- severe, often fatal disease in humans and non-human primates
- has appeared sporadically since initial recognition in 1976
- named after a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo
- can be spread from direct contact with blood and/or secretions of infected people
- symptoms include fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, in some cases followed by internal and external bleeding
- no specific treatment is available
The government said Ebola has now claimed 16 lives in Sierra Leone.
Earlier, the World Health Organization
reported more than 30 confirmed cases of the disease and seven deaths from it in Kailahun.
The spread of Ebola has slowed in neighboring Guinea and and stopped in Liberia, after health officials isolated patients and warned the public to avoid direct contact with Ebola victims, including the deceased.
The WHO said this week that community resistance in Sierra Leone is hindering efforts to identify and contact those who might have been exposed to the Ebola virus.
Ebola disease is characterized by fever, vomiting, diarrhea and in many cases, internal and external bleeding. There is no vaccine or cure.