Sierra Leone plans another shutdown to stop Ebola's spread

Sierra Leone is planning another three-day, countrywide shutdown later this month to ferret out Ebola cases, remind people how to protect themselves from the disease and control its transmission.

The West Africa Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 10,000 people is declining but the disease has remained stubbornly entrenched in parts of Guinea and Sierra Leone. Liberia, the third country severely affected, currently has no Ebola cases.

In the drive to zero cases in Sierra Leone, the government will again ask residents to stay in their homes for three days, Alfred Palo Conteh, head of the country's National Ebola Response Center, said Wednesday. The shutdown is expected to take place March 27 through 29, according to Patrick Fatoma, another official with the Ebola response center.

The has done this before, and some experts said it was unexpectedly effective in providing information about to control the .

Sierra Leone is "hoping it will be the last push to end Ebola outbreak. We want it to be community-owned and for people to do the proper things," said Fatoma.

There are currently about 30 cases in treatment centers across the country, Fatoma said, a far cry from the height of the epidemic when hundreds of people were falling sick each week in Sierra Leone. But say eradicating the last cases in a country can be the most difficult work.


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