Sierra Leoneans given vaccination against Ebola

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Sierra Leone authorities on Wednesday announced a vaccination programme for the people that were quarantined following a new Ebola death last week just as West Africa declared an end to the epidemic.

“Vaccination began yesterday [Tuesday],” in places the victim, a 22-year-old student, visited before her death on January 12 in the northern town of Magburaka, Sierra Leone’s head of medical services, doctor Brima Kargbo, told AFP.

He said that they were using the VSV-EBOV vaccine, which has already been tested in Guinea, one of the three countries worst hit by the epidemic.  The other two are Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The vaccine was also used in September in a town in the northern region of Sierra Leone that was under quarantine.

This vaccine is the first to have proven effective, according to experts.

The operation will last “until all the contacts are vaccinated”, Kargbo added.

22 people have been vaccinated in Magburaka since Tuesday and five in Kambia, while figures were not yet available for the town of Lunsar, where the dead student lived.

The World Health Organization announcement on Friday confirming she had tested positive for Ebola came just a day after West Africa celebrated the end of the outbreak with Liberia becoming the last of the three worst-hit countries in the region to be declared free of the disease.

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