With only hours to the timeline of being declared free of the Ebola epidemic, confusion has emerged in Sierra Leone over a reported new case of the viral disease.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Thursday dismissed as “rumours” a report which emanated from the eastern Kono district where a sample from a recovered patient was said to have tested positive.
WHO in a brief statement said an investigation showed that the “rumour” was “unfounded” and it said the Ebola-free countdown continued.
Sierra Leone is due to be declared free from the virus on Saturday November 7, when it will have completed 42 days without recording a new case on Friday.
“There is no new Ebola case in Sierra Leone today, day 41 of the countdown to zero + 42,” the WHO statement said.
One source who claimed a sample from the breast milk of the recovered patient had tested positive was contradicted by another who indicated the sample was wrongly labelled as blood.
WHO’s statement did not give any details. It only said its investigation revealed that the “rumour” was related to a “routine health care report for survivors.”
Ebola survivors are known to contain segments of the virus in certain parts of the body, notably semen, breast milk and the eyes. So it is not uncommon for them to have traces of the virus.
But some people fear a cover-up to ensure Saturday’s highly anticipated ceremony goes ahead.
For more skeptical Sierra Leoneans on social media, those in charge simply do not wish to see the end of Ebola, hence the “indifference” in responding to the alleged new case.
The WHO though is determined to move on.
“Surveillance and active case search continues across the country and if no new case is recorded by November 7, 2015, Sierra Leone will have met the criteria set by WHO to declare the end of the current outbreak in Sierra Leone,” the WHO statement added.