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WHO: More Than 48 Ebola Contacts Missing In Sierra Leone

Cynthia Goldsmith

This colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion. See PHIL 1832 for a black and white version of this image.

Where is Ebola virus found in nature?The exact origin, locations, and natural habitat (known as the "natural reservoir") of Ebola virus remain unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is zoonotic (animal-borne) and is normally maintained in an animal host that is native to the African continent. A similar host is probably associated with Ebola-Reston which was isolated from infected cynomolgous monkeys that were imported to the United States and Italy from the Philippines. The virus is not known to be native to other continents, such as North America.

The World Health Organization is warning that dozens of people linked to the most recent cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone are still missing and 18 are at high risk of having the virus.

WHO representative Dr. Anders Nordstrom said Wednesday that while about 70 people are in quarantine in northern districts, more than 48 contacts remain missing from the northern Kambia district.

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Nordstrom called for strengthened surveillance efforts in communities and hospitals.

A young woman’s body tested positive for Ebola after she died and was given a traditional burial. Her aunt later tested positive for Ebola.

Nearly 4,000 people died before Sierra Leone was first declared free from transmission Nov. 7. Ebola has killed more than 11,300 people, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, since late 2013.

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