CDC/Frederick Murphy

Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown has suffered a fresh outbreak of Ebola, dashing hopes that health authorities in the densely-populated city of 1.2 million had beaten the deadly epidemic.

The government’s National Ebola Response Centre told the AFP news agency that three cases had emerged in the east-end slum of Magazine Wharf – three weeks after the last known infections in the capital.

Health officials said six people have been under observation since the first of the new cases – a casual labourer – tested positive on June 1.

Authorities are concerned that the case could lead to a mini-outbreak in the overcrowded fishing community, which has poor sanitation and is regularly hit by outbreaks of malaria and cholera.

Liberia was declared Ebola-free in May, but hopes that neighbouring Sierra Leone and Guinea would quickly follow suit have been dashed recently, with the weekly toll of infections in the two countries hovering around 25.

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