Sierra Leone officials confirmed a new case of Ebola on Thursday, making it the second new case since the country celebrated the end of the epidemic last week.
In response to the new outbreak, the country’s Ebola treatment centers have been re-opened. In addition, the screening systems put in place during the epidemic have been reinstituted.
The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the new case involved the aunt of a 22-year-old woman who passed away on January 12.
The aunt was the primary caregiver for her niece during the latter’s illness, according to a WHO spokesman speaking to the media.
The patient developed symptoms on Wednesday, and has since been placed under quarantine, the WHO spokesman said.
Health workers have begun to identify anyone who had contact with the patient. The spokesman for Sierra Leone’s Health Ministry, Sidi Yahya Tunis, stated that they expected others to be infected. The young woman, who passed away on January 12, was given an Islamic burial which means her body was washed by the mourners.
Therefore, according to the Sierra Leonean Health Ministry, it is more than likely that more infections will be reported. Mr. Tunis was hopeful that the infected could be effectively quarantined, and treated before the disease spread.
The new vaccine, VSV-EBOV is expected to be used in order to treat the patients. However, some health workers have resisted the use of the vaccine noting that the drug can cause other ailments.
Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free on November 7 of last year.