Sierra Leone News : Freetown City Exports Ebola to Bonthe District

The Bonthe District Medical Officer (DMO), Dr. Ibrahim Kargbo-Labour on Sunday 16th November 2014 via telephone interview, confirmed to the Awareness Times that a new Ebola case has surfaced in Bonthe after 47 days (seven weeks) of zero cases.


According to the DMO a 17 years old teenager, (name withheld) arrived in Bendu Village, Sogbeni Chiefdom shortly before her death. Dr Kargbo-Labour disclosed that the patient was a resident of Thunder Hill in Freetown prior to going to Bonthe where she succumbed after hiding in the village.


“When she was finally overwhelmed by the Ebola virus in her system,  she decided to visit a health facility,” the DMO said.  Dr. Kargbo-Labour said she arrived at Bendu Health Center with classic Ebola symptoms like vomiting but fortunately, she died on arrival without contacting anybody. He said the corpse was immediately given a safe burial by the trained burial team and a sample swab of its body fluids was sent for test to Ebola laboratories which returned as positive for  Ebola.


The DMO further revealed that he instituted an investigation into how she bypassed tough temperature checks along the several checkpoints between Freetown and Bonthe. He discovered that all recorded temperatures logged down under the name of the deceased displayed temperatures within  normal range. He alleged that it has now been confirmed that some ill people were taking anti-fever drugs which reduced their temperatures for several hours whilst travelling. They thus bypass the temperature checkpoints.


He said the Bonthe District Health Medical (DHM) Team believes in prevention rather than cure and that is why they have always been on top of the Ebola situation. According to him the residents in that district are in strict compliance with the precautionary measures and awareness raising. The DMO said 30 people whom might have come in contact with the dead 17 years old, have been immediately quarantined in 12 households.


“In Bonthe, since outbreak of Ebola, people give all corpses to burial teams and they report anyone who develops signs and symptoms of Ebola” he said.


Bonthe District Council Chairperson Rita Savage also gave an exclusive interview to this newspaper.  Madam Savage said the deceased was given a safe burial and expressed hope that she has not infected other residents. She however reiterated the assurance of the DMO that they will be prepared for any eventually arising out of a secondary infection from the 17 years old. She said her District Council and DHM Team are working concertedly.
She lamented Ebola cases recorded in her district all came from strangers who entered Bonthe “already sick with the disease”. She said the latest deceased was dwelling in Freetown but went to Bendu Village, “after she fell ill with Ebola”.


She maintained that they are putting all strategies in place to ensure that Bonthe remains Ebola-free adding “People are well informed and so they abide by the rules and regulations of the Ebola bye-laws so that is why we are above the epidemic and by God’s grace we will continue to remain so”.

President Koroma recently praised Bonthe for all their anti-Ebola efforts.

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.