Authorities had declared not long ago that Ebola had been eradicated in West Africa -- but new fears have emerged that it's back.
The surprising death of an individual from Ebola in Sierra Leone after it had been declared eradicated has caused authorities to scramble and place 100 people into quarantine.
The government urged the populace not to panic over the decision, which came after the World Health Organization confirmed that a 22-year-old woman had died near the border with Guinea after testing positive for Ebola, according to a Agence France-Presse report.
The confirmation came just a day after Liberia became the last of the three hardest hit countries, along with Guinea and Sierra Leone, to declare itself Ebola-free. Sierra Leone had been declared free of the virus last November and Guinea was cleared last month.
The announcement quickly cut short celebrations in West Africa that the Ebola epidemic was finally over, as health officials in Freetown placed 109 people who had been in contact with the woman in quarantine. Those suspected of possibly having Ebola are placed in quarantine for 21 days, which is the incubation period of Ebola.
Twenty-eight of those 109 individuals were considered high risks, and there were still another three people who hadn’t been located.
Despite the news, the government said it was not time to panic, and the people of Sierra Leone must calmly work together to nip the problem in the bud.
The woman had gone to Magburaka Government Hospital but was showing no signs or symptoms of Ebola, which typically include fever and redness of the eyes. However she did have dizziness. Because of this, health officials intend to revisit their case definition of Ebola to more accurately spot it in the future.
The Ebola epidemic killed 11,000 people after first emerging in Guinea in December 2013 and sparked a worldwide panic as some cases cropped up outside of Africa, including in the United States.