Sierra Leone's terror: Ebola virus
- On March 18, 2014, a hemorrhagic fever known to 'strike like lightning' was diagnosed by the Guinean health officials.
- By May 2014, this fever was identified as Ebola virus and had spread to Sierra Leone.
- The disease was said to have begun when a child from a bat-hunting family caught the fever in Guinea in December 2013.
WHO faces flak for handling Ebola crisis
- WHO was critiqued world over for its poor handling of Ebola crisis.
- WHO failed to act when the initial reports came and said that media was 'scaremongering'.
- Moreover, the government blamed WHO for issuing lock downs much later and it was not till August 2014 that it declared Ebola as a health emergency.
- Many felt that the cutbacks at UN were the real reason.
From a disease to a nuisance
- Ebola became the gravest danger faced by the people of Guinea with corpses in the street, families cleaned out, many of health care workers contaminated, and the hospitals were shut down.
- The international borders were shut down which was a necessity to contain the disease but made everything harder than it was.
- With that came the depleting medical resources.
2296 deaths because of Ebola virus
Ebola became a danger for 4507 presumable and confirmed cases, which included 2296 deaths reported from five countries in West Africa — Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.
Ebola refuses to die down
- Looking at the speed and intensity that Ebola was spreading, the government of Sierra Leone started to shut down select districts which faced the gravest danger.
- On 2 December 2014 Tonkolili district was on a 2-week lock down.
- After that similar lockdowns were introduced in Kono District.
- The situation worsened to the extent that the government cancelled Christmas celebrations for that year.
Economic consequences of the Ebola virus
- Abdoulaye Mar Dieye,Director of UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa said that Ebola had far-reaching consequences on Sierra Leone as well as other West African countries.
- West Africa as a whole was expected to lose US$3.6 billion per year between 2014 and 2017 because of drop in trade, shutting of borders, flight canceling and decreased Foreign Direct Investment and tourist movements, stoked by stigma.
Sierra Leone free of Ebola
- The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared Sierra Leone free of Ebola.
- Thousands of people of Sierra Leone took to the streets of Freetown (capital) to mark the 42nd day "without a single declared case of the disease. "
- People took out processions to mark the event and held a one minute silence session for those lost to the deadly outbreak.
90-day surveillance period for Sierra Leone
From 8 November, Sierra Leone's 90-day period of enhanced surveillance will begin running til 5 February with the aim of quickly detecting any new possible cases. Liberia was declared free of the virus 2 months ago.
WHO declares Guinea Ebola-free
- The World Health Organization announced that Guinea was free of Ebola virus transmission for the first time since March 2014.
- All three of the West African countries hardest hit by the epidemic, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, have now documented stopping the original chain of infections.
- The government of Guinea has announced plans for a nation wide celebration to mark the occasion.
Liberia declared Ebola-free by WHO
- The World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the Ebola epidemic that has devastated west Africa for over 2 years was over, "after Liberia, the last affected country, received the all-clear."
- Liberia (worst affected by the outbreak with 4,800 casualties) released Ebola's last two sufferers from the hospital on 3 December 2015.
- The announcement came after 42 days after the last case was tested negative.
The horror continues: Ebola resurfaces in Sierra Leone
- In a major setback, Sierra Leone has announced a death from the Ebola virus hours after WHO experts said that West Africa was free of the disease.
- The victim got infected at a town bordering Guinea and the health experts are now investigating if anyone had contact with the deceased.
- Before Sierra Leone, Liberia had encountered similar relapse where the virus had returned twice.
Ebola back in Guinea, 2 new cases
- Almost three months after it celebrated the end of the Ebola outbreak, two new Ebola cases have been confirmed in Guinea.
- The cases were reported in the southern region of Nzerekore, where the outbreak began in December 2013.
- Officials added that there were three other suspected cases on whom tests were being conducted.
- Authorities declined to comment on where the outbreak originated.