Sierra Leone finds more than 100 contacts in Ebola case

Clarence Roy-Macaulay
Associated Press

Freetown, Sierra Leone — Sierra Leone has identified more than 100 contacts of a new Ebola case that emerged in the West African nation’s north last week, and 28 of those people are at high risk, officials have said.

Swabs from a 22-year-old woman who died last week tested positive for Ebola, Sierra Leone authorities said Friday. The case came a day after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak over in West Africa.

The young student was not properly buried by a burial team, the Director of Disease, Control and Prevention in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Foday Dafae, said Monday.

At least 28 high risk contacts have been placed under quarantine, and the remaining 109 contacts are being assessed, he said.

Three known contacts are missing, National Coordinator of Office of National Security, Ishmael Tarawallie, said over the weekend.

“We are worried and concerned about this new development,” Tarawallie said Saturday of the new case, adding that the woman’s death came as Sierra Leone was entering its 68th day of 90 days of heightened surveillance. “It was not unexpected that a flare-up was possible.”

Nearly 4,000 people died before Sierra Leone was first declared free from transmission Nov. 7. Ebola has killed more than 11,300 people, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, since this outbreak emerged in late 2013.

The young woman sought outpatient medical attention in the Northern Tonkolili District on Jan. 6 and died Jan. 12, he said. She also consulted an herbalist, he said.

Government Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brima Kargbo said “the patient (victim) went to the hospital with no visible signs of Ebola,” she had no fever or redness of the eyes, and only some signs of dizziness.