A baby has died of Ebola in a part of Sierra Leone where the outbreak began, dealing a blow to the recovery weeks after the district had eradicated the virus, officials said Monday.
The eastern district of Kailahun has been at the forefront of the country’s recovery from the epidemic, having seen no new cases for more than three months and been declared “Ebola-free”.
But health ministry officials confirmed a new case of the deadly tropical fever in a nine-month-old boy who tested positive after his death. The infant had been treated at the Nixon hospital in Kailahun for diarrhoea and returned home, but he died after his health declined and he was readmitted for a blood transfusion, the officials said.
His parents and other family members in the Njaluahun tribal chiefdom have been placed in quarantine, the ministry said. Health officials are monitoring an uncle who provided blood for the infant and investigating whether the sample he donated was the one used in the transfusion.
“The death has puzzled the chiefdom as the parents of the deceased have not been diagnosed as Ebola positive,” Foday Sajuma, the manager of a local community radio station, told AFP.