Manhunt for missing Ebola suspects


August 24, 2015 By Victoria Saffa

There is a manhunt across Freetown to locate several high risk Ebola contacts who have disappeared, according to an announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO made this revelation last Friday while giving update on the current situation of the Ebola outbreak for the week ending 21 August.

Manhunt for suspects is not a new phenomenon in the fight against the Ebola virus, as runaway patients have caused the virus to spread across the country.

According to the WHO Representative in the country, Dr. Anders Nordstrom, the rapid response teams established to track down and monitor all chain of transmission have lost contact with the said high risk suspects for about a week, adding though that they remain alert and ready to respond to any new cases.

Dr. Nordstrom called on people not to be complacent, as there remains a significant risk of further transmission in the capital city if the missing suspects are not put under observation, adding that there are a total of seventy-two (72) contacts who are being observed in three districts – Tonkolili, Western Area Urban, and Western Area Rural – with all of them associated with the Western Area Urban chain of transmission.

He said all contacts associated with the recent cluster of cases in Tonkolili will have completed their 21 days follow-up period by yesterday (Sunday, 23 August).

Similarly, in neighbouring Guinea, about 45 suspects have also been lost to follow-up in Conakry over the past six weeks, said the WHO country representative.

In another development, police officers in Magburaka Town are investigating eight suspects who were arrested over the weekend in Ronolla village, Gbonkolenken Chiefdom in the Tonkolili District for washing a corpse.

Meanwhile, for the third consecutive week no health worker infection was reported in any of the affected countries. There have been a total of 880 confirmed health worker infections reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the start of the outbreak, with 512 reported deaths.

Recently, vehicles and passengers plying the eastern part of Freetown have to go through a checkpoint at Furniture Junction, Allen Town, as security officers search for the missing contacts.