London: Sierra Leone is expected to be declared ebola-free by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday, when it will have gone 42 days without any fresh case of the virus, the media reported on Tuesday.
In Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, doctors who led the fight against the disease that first hit the country in May 2014 said lessons had to be learned from Liberia, where one isolated case, thought to have been transmitted sexually, was recorded weeks after the country was declared ebola-free in May, The Guardian reported.
There is also concern about long-term side-effects, heightened by the case of Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who became critically ill with meningitis caused by the lingering virus, nine months after being given the all-clear.
“We cannot stop at 42 days. We keep up the infection control and be hyper-vigilant because of what we found in Liberia and because of the case of the Scottish nurse,” said Foday Sahr, who runs the Ebola treatment unit (ETU) at 34 Military hospital in Freetown.
“This country has suffered quite a lot so everybody is looking forward to zero, but I keep telling people we cannot be complacent,” he added.
The disease has killed 3,589 people in Sierra Leone, 221 of them health workers, including 11 of the country’s 120 doctors.
Overall, the death toll for the outbreak in west Africa stands at 11,313.