MoHS increases survillance at border crossing points
May 23, 2018
In the wake of the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has informed the public that they have heightened alerts at all border crossing points and districts to look out for signs and symptoms of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
The ministry, in a press release issued on Monday, gave general information on the deadly virus, including the signs and symptoms of the disease and how it spread.
The release said as of 18 May, 45 cases have been reported in three health zones in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including 25 deaths. According to the statement, the number included 14 confirmed, 21 probable and 10 suspected cases
Sierra Leone had witnessed the worst outbreak of the virus since it was first discovered in DRC in 1976. The epidemic occurred in Sierra Leone in 2014, along with neighbouring countries of Guinea and Liberia, killing about 3,955 and affecting over 14,000 people in Sierra Leone alone.
The contagious disease began slowly in the eastern part of the country after the death of a traditional healer, who had reportedly treated patients from across the border in Guinea where an outbreak of the Ebola had started in February, 2014. During the burial, 14 persons became infected as they prepared and buried the healer’s remains.
While officially declaring the country Ebola free on March 17 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) sounded a stern warning to Sierra Leone and its neighbours about the likelihood of the re-emergence of the disease because the virus lingers in some survivors.
With the new outbreak in the DRC, there are genuine fears among the populace that if surveillance is not stepped up in border communities, the deadly hemorrhagic fever might yet sneak into the country after WHO warned that the disease could spread rapidly through contact with the smallest amount of bodily fluid of those infected.
Meanwhile, the MoHS says it has instituted mechanisms like enhanced surveillance for EVD and other acute viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Lassa Fever, and initiated strategy to sensitise health workers for timely detection and response, and to create necessary public awareness for prevention and preparedness response at all levels for viral hemorrhagic fever.