Sierra Leone Celebrates Release of Last Known Ebola Patient

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On Monday morning, Adama Sankoh walked out of the International Medical Corps treatment center in Makeni and onto a red carpet. Hundreds of people — including Sierra Leone’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma — were waiting to celebrate. She is the last known Ebola patient in Sierra Leone; if no more cases are declared in the next 42 days, the country will be officially labeled “Ebola-free.” The president made sure attendees spread the word that the celebration was not complete, telling Sankoh“The Ebola fight is not yet over — go and tell members of your community that.”

It was like she was a rock star,” a spokesperson for the medical center told reporters. “There were at least 100 people there — politicians, press — everyone wanting a photograph of her.”

Nearly 4,000 people have died from the deadly disease in Sierra Leone — the first case was confirmed in May 2014. Liberia was declared Ebola-free in May, but has dealt with more cases this summer. Nearby Guinea is not Ebola-free either. There have been around 28,000 individual cases. 

At the ceremony, Sankoh, whose 23-year-old son died from Ebola shortly before she became sick, said she hoped that she would be the last patient who contracted the virus. “Although my child died of Ebola, I am very happy that I have survived today.”

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Adama Sankoh, 40, center, who contracted Ebola after her son died from the disease late last month stands with health officials the moment after she was discharged.Photo: Alie Turay/© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.