The Ministry of Health and Sanitation confirms a positive swab Ebola case after the death of a 22 year old female student at Magburaka town in Tonkolili district on 12 January 2016. A swab team collected a swab sample and after three positive results confirmed at an accredited laboratory in Makeni, a second accreditated laboratory in Kambia reconfirmed the results.
This tragic news comes at a time as Sierra Leone was entering the 68th day of its 90-day enhanced surveillance period that was due to end on February 5th 2016. It was not unexpected that a flare up was possible as lessons learned in neighboring Liberia have taught us.
The government is currently on the ground with support of an international inter-agency team, and at the national level, the National Situation Room has been reactivated since the death was reported on Thursday 14th January 2016. Preliminary investigation results show that the young woman, a student at Lunsar in Port Loko district, travelled to Barmoi Luma town in Kambia district on 28th December 2015 where she remained until she travelled back to Tonkolili sick on 6th January 2016.
We also know that she travelled to Bombali district to consult a herbalist. She sought outpatient medical attention at the government hospital in Magburaka and went home where her condition deteriorated and later died on January 12th. So far, 109 contacts have been identified, 28 of them high risk.
Currently, there are three missing contacts that have yet to be located. At this time, active case investigation continues in the four districts where the young woman was known to have travelled. The source of infection and route of transmission is being investigated and the Government urges all Sierra Leoneans to continue being vigilant and adhere to safe hygiene practices.
These include reporting all suspicious illness and deaths by calling 117.
We are worried and concerned about this new development, but call on the general public not to panic. We have been through this before, we know how to fight Ebola.
Together we prevail as a nation like we have before. Now more than ever, all Sierra Leoneans must work together to prevent further infection.
The government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the Office of National Security, the two lead government agencies, will continue to provide timely information to the general public as events unfold.
Tunis Sidy Yaya
Communications Piller Lead
Ministry of Health and Sanitation
Health Communications Department: Department of Disease Prevention and Control
Dr. Brima Kargbo
Chief Medical Officer
Ministry of Health Sanitation
Office of the National Security (ONS)