Today, an aid agency report announced that a woman who passed away from the Ebola virus exposed a minimum of 30 other people to the disease.
The new case comes as a huge disappointment, as only yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the epidemic’s chain of transmission had finally come to an end after killing over 11,300 people throughout West Africa.
Authorities who responded to the Ebola case in Sierra Leone are getting heat for their poor handling of the episode and are being kept anonymous, as they didn’t adhere to the fundamental health protocols when admitting the patient.
Twenty-two-year-old student Mariatu Jalloh first started showing signs of the Ebola virus at the beginning of the year. She hailed from the large city of Port Loko but had travelled near to the border of Guinea at the end of December 2015.
By the time she traveled back to her parents’ home in Tonkolili district, east of the capital Freetown, using three different taxis, Jalloh had diarrhea and was vomiting, the report said. She was nursed by members of a household of 22 people.
She sought treatment at a local hospital on Jan. 8 where a health worker, who did not wear protective clothing, took a blood sample. It was not immediately clear whether the sample was tested for Ebola.
She was treated as an outpatient and returned home, where she died on Jan. 12. Health workers took a swab test of Jalloh’s body following her death, which tested positive for Ebola.
Asked about apparent errors in handling the case, Sierra Leone health ministry spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis said that the patient had been tested for the virus and had received treatment in a government hospital. He did not give further details.
Sierra Leone was one of the last countries battling Ebola before WHO’s declaration on Thursday. It had initially been determined as Ebola-free on November 7, 2015.
WHO is dismissing the possibility of another massive outbreak, but note that the virus can still live in survivors’ secretions like semen, breast milk, vaginal discharge, spinal fluid and fluids from the eyes. Ebola is passed through exposure of such bodily fluids and kills about 40 percent of those who contract the virus.