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Int'l Medical Corps nurse dies of Ebola in Sierra Leone

A nurse working for the charity International Medical Corps has died of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

The health worker, a Sierra Leonean national, worked at the Ebola treatment centre in the coastal Kambia district on the border with Guinea, where there have been intermittent flare-ups of the disease.

As of 14 July, Ebola had claimed the lives of 3,947 people in Sierra Leone. Between 14 June and 5 July, three deaths from Ebola were reported: one in Port Loko, in the country’s north; one in Western Area Urban, the most populous of Sierra Leone’s 14 districts; and one in Kambia.

The deaths have prompted a renewed effort to communicate the causes of Ebola infection to the public.

The name of the latest victim, who was treated at the British-funded Kerry Town hospital, is being withheld after the family asked for privacy.

The head of the International Medical Corps, Nancy Aossey, said the nurse was “a heroic staff member, who was helping the people of Sierra Leone”.

The IMC is one of a handful of of international non-governmental organisations still treating Ebola patients in west Africa, with nearly 1,550 staff working on the ground in the country and in neighbouring Guinea and Liberia.

“This death also reminds us all that the fight against Ebola in west Africa is far from over,” said Aossey.

In Liberia, there were six new cases including two deaths, another setback for the country which had been declared Ebola free in early May.

Liberian authorities have contacted 132 people who had been in contact with the 17-year-old boy who died of Ebola in late June, the first new case since May 2015.

In Guinea, fresh research is under way to detect Ebola in animals in a bid to prevent further transmission to humans. In the week to 8 July there were 18 confirmed cases, up from 12 the week before, according to the UN.

The UN Mission for Ebola Response (UNMeer), which was set up in September 2014, said it is redeploying financial, logistical and human resources to Guinea and Sierra Leone to support the push to zero cases in the two countries.

Bintu Keita, the UN’s Ebola crisis manager in Sierra Leone, said the country was in much better shape to deal with Ebola than it was at the peak of the outbreak, when there were 200 to 300 cases a week.

“We have in total five chains of transmission in the country compared to numerous numbers last year. All in all, we have about 10 patients in Ebola treatment units,” she said.
Source: The Guardian

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