Sierra Leone Celebrates Release of Last Known Ebola Patient

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.”

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/AP/Corbis


Sierra Leone Releases Last Known Ebola Patient