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WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti visits Sierra Leone

WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti visits Sierra Leone

22 February 2015 – Freetown, Sierra Leone. Today, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the newly elected WHO Regional Director for Africa, starts her four-day visit to Sierra Leone to get a better understanding of the Ebola response activities on the ground and reconfirm her commitment to the on-going Ebola outbreak.

As of 20 February, Sierra Leone has reported 8244 confirmed Ebola cases, including 3066 deaths. While the number of new cases appears to be declining over the past weeks, a mixed picture emerges in different districts.

“Last week’s sudden increase of new cases in the Aberdeen area of Freetown is a perfect example of the bumpy road that we have alerted about before,” says Dr Moeti. As of today, a cluster of twenty-seven confirmed Ebola cases, linked to the fishing community in the area, has been reported. For the past 47 days, this particular area did not report any Ebola case. The Western Area Emergency Response Center with support of the World Health Organization, CDC and other partners, is coordinating the response to this outbreak using all available resources.

Despite the expressed optimism, the recent upsurge of new cases in a number of hotspot districts, such as Western Area Urban and Port Loko, does not mean that Ebola is under control in Sierra Leone. The virus has the potential to appear in waves, which can be mistaken for declining cases. While the Ebola transmission is on-going, the potential for a resurgence in case numbers, through on-going unsafe burials or undetected cases within the community, remains a real threat which could lead to a further epidemic wave.

“We need to remain vigilant, and make sure that we control the new chains of transmission. The road to zero cases will remain bumpy the coming weeks or months ahead,” Dr Moeti continued.

Dr Moeti plans on making similar visits to the two other Ebola-affected countries Guinea and Liberia.

WHO Organization 

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