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Sierra Leone Reports Second Ebola Case After Epidemic Was Declared Over

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A second case of Ebola virus was reported in Sierra Leone just days after West Africa was declared free of the deadly epidemic.

The patient is the aunt of a 22-year-old woman who reportedly died of Ebola last week in Sierra Leone, one of the three nations most affected by the epidemic that began in December of 2013 and killed about 11,300 people.

According to ABC News, the aunt could have caught the virus when she was preparing her niece's body for a traditional funeral.

Authorities allowed the family of the deceased to hold the ceremony before discovering she had died from Ebola, which she apparently contracted in neighboring Guinea, CNN reports.

The aunt first started showing symptoms while in quarantine. She is now being treated, though her condition was not disclosed.

Several West African nations allow mourners to touch the body of the deceased in traditional funerals, which was how a great deal of victims became sick.

Corpses of victims are believed to have a particularly high chance of spreading Ebola, which is caught by coming into direct contact with bodily fluids of carriers.

The announcement of the second case comes seven days after the World Health Organization declared the Ebola outbreak was officially over.

This announcement meant Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the three nations seriously affected by Ebola, had not seen a single instance of the virus in 42 consecutive days.

But, flare-ups were expected. Since being declared Ebola-free in May 2015, Liberia saw two cases of the disease.

Until the 22-year-old victim, Sierra Leone had not seen an Ebola case in two months, but the country is technically still at risk for small outbreaks, along with Liberia and Guinea.

Citations: Sierra Leone has 2nd Ebola case after outbreak's end (CNN), Sierra Leone Has 2nd Ebola Case After Epidemic Thought Over (ABC News)