A woman who died of Ebola this week in Sierra Leone potentially exposed dozens of other people to the disease, according to an aid agency report on Friday, raising the risk of more cases just as the deadliest outbreak on record appeared to be ending.
Just a day earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared that "all known chains of transmission have been stopped in West Africa" after Liberia joined Sierra Leone and Guinea in going six weeks with no reported new cases. The three countries had borne the brunt of a two-year epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people.
The WHO warned of the potential for more flare-ups, as survivors can carry the virus for months. But the new case in Sierra Leone is especially disquieting because authorities failed to follow basic health protocols, according to the report seen by Reuters.
Compiled by a humanitarian agency that asked not to be named, the document said the victim, Mariatu Jalloh, had come into contact with at least 27 people, including 22 in the house where she died and five who were involved in washing her corpse. But its account suggested others could also be at risk.
Jalloh, 22, began showing symptoms at the beginning of the year, though the exact date is unknown, the report states. A student in Port Loko, the largest town in Sierra Leone's Northern Province, she traveled to Bamoi Luma near the border with Guinea in late December.
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