Geneva, Jan 15: A woman has died from Ebola in Sierra Leone, the WHO confirmed today, a day after it declared West Africa free from the deadly disease that has killed over 11,000 people since its outbreak in December 2013.
"The case has been confirmed. The information that I have is it's a woman who passed away and then was tested [positive] for Ebola.
She passed away on January 12," said WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic. Though WHO has not yet confirmed the identity of the victim, reports indicate that the victim was a 22-year-old woman from the Guinean border who came to the northern Tonkolili district for medical help.
Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free on November 7, last year but remained under a 90-day period of enhanced surveillance to ensure no hidden chains of transmission have been missed.
The country will again have to enter two 21-day incubation periods after the last survivor of Ebola tests negative twice before it can be declared Ebola-free.
"Through the country's new emergency operations centre, a joint team of local authorities, WHO and partners are investigating the origin of the case, identifying contacts and initiating control measures to prevent further transmission," said WHO in a press statement.
Before this case, there have been four cases of such flare-ups in Liberia, three in Guinea and three in Sierra Leone after the nations were declared free of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
At least 4,000 people have died in Sierra Leone and more than 11,000 people across the severely-affected West African region since December 2013.
The WHO had yesterday called the risk of a flare-up "low" but "significant". "We have had ten of these flare-ups and we are anticipating more," said Rick Brennan, Director of WHO's Department of Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response.