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Sierra Leone extends 'Operation Surge' to fight Ebola

IANS  |  Freetown 

Sierra Leone has decided to extend by another two weeks, an initiative to combat the spread the Ebola.

The initiative, "Operation Surge", was introduced two weeks ago, in the wake of increasing Ebola infections, especially in the western part of the country, including the capital, Freetown, Xinhua reported Thursday.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the country's National Ebola Response Centre, Palo Conteh, said Wednesday that the extension of "Operation Surge" was meant to "build on the momentum and capitalise on its success".

He attributed the success of the operation to a number of interventions, including increased and efficient social mobilisation.

More people were identified and brought to health facilities and in some cases affected people went voluntarily to health centres, Conteh said.

He said that the objective of the operation was to reduce the rate of Ebola transmission in the western part of Sierra Leone and ultimately stop new transmissions and at the same time, restore faith in the country's health care system.

There are now more than 800 beds in both treatment and holding centres in the country, and eleven laboratories, together with about 100 ambulances, said Conteh.

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), previously known as the Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe illness in humans and is often fatal. The virus is passed on to people from wild animals and can be transmitted from humans to humans.

Early supportive care, which includes rehydration and symptomatic treatment, improves the chances of survival.

No licensed treatment has yet been proven to be able to neutralise the virus, but a number of blood, immunological and drug medications are under development.

The number of people killed by Ebola has reached 8,153, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said in a statement.

The report released this week also noted that a total of 20,656 cases of EVD have been reported.

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were the countries hit most by Ebola, while separate cases have also been registered in Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, Britain and the US.

First Published: Fri, January 09 2015. 02:16 IST