Ebola virus: Created by CDC microbiologist Frederick A. Murphy, this colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion. Photo Credit: CDC Global/Flickr
Efforts to end the year-long fight against Ebola suffered a major setback on Monday after health officials in Sierra Leone confirmed that a woman who died last week was infected with the deadly virus.
The deceased, a 67-year-old trader from the Kambia district, succumbed to the virus on Saturday, Reuters reported. The country had not witnessed any new cases of Ebola since August 8 and was waiting to complete the 42-days of incubation period to get a disease-free certificate from the World Health Organization (WHO).
While talking to the media, chief medical officer Brima Kargbo confirmed that they were analyzing two more possible cases of Ebola.
“We are particularly concerned because Kambia has gone 50 days without a confirmed Ebola case, suggesting the possibility of an error,” Kargbo told Reuters.
Sierra Leone was thought to be Ebola-free on Monday, August 24, when the last patient Adama Sankoh, a palm oil trader completely recovered from the disease and left the Makeni Ebola treatment unit.
As on Wednesday, August 26, a total of 13,541 cases of Ebola and 3,952 deaths have been reported in Sierra Leone.
Guinea and Liberia are the two other West African countries worst affected in the current Ebola epidemic. Liberia faced a similar situation recently. The country witnessed a new case of Ebola on 29 June, nearly one month after it received an Ebola-free certificate (May 9) from WHO.
The virus got its name from the Ebola River in Yambuku in Democratic Republic of Congo, where it first appeared in 1976. The current outbreak which started with a two-year-old boy in Meliandou in Guinea in December 2013, has so far infected 28,041 people and killed 11,302 across the world.