Just two days after the World Health Organization declared West Africa ebola free, a second new case as surfaced in Sierra Leone.
A 38-year-old woman has been diagnosed with the ebola virus after caring for her niece, Marie Jalloh, who succumbed to illness on Jan. 12.
It was only after Jalloh’s death that health officials were able to positively identify the virus as ebola.
This marked a large setback for West Africa, which had just been declared ebola-free by the World Health Organization a few days prior.
Jalloh’s aunt, who was her primary caregiver, began showing symptoms on Jan. 20 while being monitored at a quarantine facility.
While the new case has caused worry and stress among the public, a WHO spokesperson has stated that Sierra Leone has taken every necessary step to contain and isolate the virus.
A Sierra Leone health ministry spokesperson has warned that other cases may surface – with an emphasis on those who had washed Jalloh’s body prior to her burial. Ebola transmission is at its most potent when the infected person is dying or already deceased.
The state has employed screenings and checkpoints on major roads in an effort to detect any person showing symptoms of the virus.
Since December 2013, almost 4 000 people have died from ebola in Sierra Leone and over 11 300 people across West Africa.