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Sierra Leone News: Ebola, 17 Deaths

Amidst doubts and fear from some members of the public, that the Ebola virus is real, the Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Brima Kargbo has confirmed that 17 people are now dead after being tested and confirmed, that they had the Ebola disease.
He disclosed this figure in an interview with Awoko, that there are now 117 suspected reported cases, in which laboratory test has confirmed 43 to have the virus, while 17 have died from the virus.
With regards to response, Dr. Kargbo said health workers around the country have received training on how to effectively use the protective gear and to handle suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola, including how to bury deceased victims. He said the surveillance teams are also active in border communities, assisting them on how to detect a suspected case, in order to avoid making wrong judgement in identifying a suspected case, which might be another case of haemorrhagic fever or cholera and not Ebola.
The Chief Medical Officer, disclosed that all health facilities around the country will be available to attend to suspected and confirmed cases, but they will be quarantined in an isolated area in the facility, which has been established by the International Rescue Committee, Medicine San Frontier (MSF), and Concern Worldwide.
Dr. Kargbo advised that people should stop all border as well as internal criss-crossing from affected communities to other parts of the country, like what is happening now, which is one way of spreading the virus across. He said contact tracing is now in progress which will help put a stop to the chain of transmission.
As to what type of Ebola strain Sierra Leone is suffering from, Dr. Kargbo said as of now the ministry cannot tell, but specimen has been sent to Harvard University for genetic sequence, as to ascertain the type of Ebola strain in the country.
On concerns raised by some residents, on why the former Leprosy Hospital at Lakka should be used as an isolation centre, the Chief Medical Officer explained that using the facility will not affect members of the community, as long as they stay away from the centre. He said the centre will be fully protected from the community, including health personnel who will be at the centre.
The centre will only be operational if there is need, he said.
By Ade Campbell
Wednesday June 11, 2014

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