Sierra Leone reported zero new Ebola infection in a week for the first time since the outbreak.
A remarkable milestone achieved by an African nation in the midst of the deadliest outbreak. For the first time since May 2014, there were no new cases registered in Sierra Leone, where more than 500 new cases a week were recorded during the height of the notorious outbreak in the region.
On Monday, World Health Organization (WHO) announced that there were no new Ebola cases reported in the last week. “This is very good news but we have to keep doing this intensive working with communities to identify potential new cases,” said Andres Nordstrom, the WHO representative in the West African nation.
As of today, there are only two Ebola patients in Sierra Leone who are still being treated and about 80 people are being monitored that have been in contact with infected individuals. But the health professionals and others are worried about the possible complications caused by the virus months after the recovery phase. Many Ebola survivors reported to be suffering from severe headaches, impaired vision, and blindness.
“This does not mean Sierra Leone is suddenly Ebola free,” said OB Sisay, Head of the National Ebola Response Center (NERC). “As long as we have one Ebola case we still have an epidemic. People should continue to take the public health measures such as maintaining hand hygiene, temperature checks, enhanced screening,” he added.
The region will be officially declared Ebola free six weeks after the last Ebola patient either dies or tests negative for the infection. On the other hand, neighboring Guinea continues to report a small number of cases and three new infections identified last week while Liberia has not seen a new case since July 23.
Ebola virus has claimed more than 11,000 lives since the epidemic erupted in 2014. About seven months later, WHO declared the outbreak an international emergency. Most of these causalities occurred in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. IMAGE/arabnews