Today, Sierra Leone berated the “selfish and shameful” behavior of people risking a resurgence of the Ebola virus by ignoring quarantine restrictions, as authorities announced a spike in cases.
Already devastated by Ebola, Guinea and Sierra Leone saw a spike in new cases last week, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, crushing hopes that the deadly outbreak was petering out.
The country’s National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) spoke out as the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed the west African nation and its neighbour Guinea had seen cases quadruple in a week.
The seven days ending Sunday “saw the highest weekly total of confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease for over a month,” the UN health body said in its latest update. A full 35 new cases were reported during the week in Guinea and Sierra Leone, up from just nine a week earlier.
According to the latest figures, the outbreak has now infected a total of 26,933 people and killed 11,120, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and neighboring Liberia, which was declared Ebola-free on May 9. Guinea, where the outbreak began in late 2013, was hardest hit last week, with 27 new cases reported, compared to just seven the week before.
Palo Conteh, head of the government-run NERC told reporters in the capital Freetown a man who went on the run, despite being under quarantine, was responsible for the enforced isolation of 52 people.
“Some of the 52 may be infected because of a selfish and shameful act of a small number of people,” he said.
Saidu Conteh escaped a sealed-off section of Freetown’s densely-populated Moa Wharf slum after his girlfriend died of Ebola, said the NERC chief, who is no relation.
He evaded capture for a week but died in a treatment unit on Sunday, two days after being tracked down at another residence in Freetown by expert Ebola contact tracers.