, FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, Jan 15 – The World Health Organization confirmed Friday a new death from Ebola in Sierra Leone just a day after west Africa celebrated the end of the outbreak.
A 22-year-old female student was taken ill near the Guinean border on Thursday last week and died on Tuesday, according to local health officials.
“We can confirm the Ebola case in Sierra Leone,” the WHO said in a statement from Geneva.
Augustine Junisa, the chief local medical officer, told reporters the woman became ill while on holiday in the village of Bamoi Luma and was taken by relatives to hospital.
The official said the woman “died at home” but did not say why she had been released from the hospital in Magburaka, the capital of the northern Tonkolili district.
“The swab test on the victim after her death was done three times and all proved positive,” Langoba Kelly of Sierra Leone’s office of national security told reporters in Freetown, appealing for calm.
Kelly said investigators were fanning out across Tonkolili to track down anyone who may have had contact with the victim and family members had been placed in isolation.
“Our level of preparedness remains high as we did not stand down or dismantle any of the structures that we had used to fight the virus before.”
The WHO had said Thursday a two-year Ebola outbreak that killed more than 11,000 people and triggered a global health alert was over, with Liberia the last country to get the all-clear.
However, the organisation also warned there could be “possible flare-ups” of the disease.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon cautioned that the region could expect sporadic cases in the coming year but added “we also expect the potential and frequency of those flare-ups to decrease over time”.