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Fear, doubts obstruct efforts to contain Ebola in Sierra Leone

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  • Fear, doubts obstruct efforts to contain Ebola in Sierra Leone

    Wed Jan 20, 2016

    Community fear and suspicion in Sierra Leone are obstructing officials' attempts to stop the spread of Ebola, health reports showed on Wednesday, after the West African nation reported its first cases of the deadly virus in months.

    The discovery of a case last week, only made posthumously, was announced a day after the World Health Organization said transmission had ended in what had been the only country yet to be declared Ebola-free - Liberia.

    Sierra Leone had been declared officially free of transmission two months earlier.

    The new death was a setback for the region seeking to end a two-year epidemic that has killed more than 11,300 people, and it was followed by a second case on Wednesday, heightening fears of further transmission.

    Internal health reports seen by Reuters showed that at least 50 people linked to Mariatu Jalloh, the 22-year-old student who died from Ebola on Jan. 12, and who were potentially exposed to virus have gone missing. At least a dozen of them are considered at high risk of infection.

    Last week, just three contacts were reported missing.

    One of the health reports noted: "Community very uncooperative and unwilling to direct us to the missing contacts".

    They also referred to "great resistance" to a program to vaccinate locals who were potentially exposed to the virus in the Northern Province, a remote area near the Guinean border where Jalloh had traveled before falling ill.

    The reports show that suspicion toward health officials, one of the aggravating factors in the disease's early spread nearly two years ago, is still dogging attempts to end the epidemic.

    Some conceded, however, that such incredulity is understandable given the apparent failure of local officials to follow basic health protocols with the last case.
    Community fear and suspicion in Sierra Leone are obstructing officials' attempts to stop the spread of Ebola, health reports showed on Wednesday, after the West African nation reported its first cases of the deadly virus in months.
    “Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights – that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

    ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ GertvanderHoek@gmail.com ~~~
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