A Sierra Leone Red Cross Society staff member has become the first death of a Red Cross volunteer or staff member in Sierra Leone since response operations were launched in April 2014, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Thursday.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of this brave staff member during this particularly difficult time. We are extremely grateful for his work and dedication to the Red Cross, and to the fight against this deadly disease,” said Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, IFRC.
The staff member was a nurse working at the IFRC Ebola treatment centre in Kenema. He passed away on 13 January 2015 and was confirmed positive for Ebola virus disease later that day.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is currently carrying out an investigation to determine how the staff member became infected, and if it happened at home or while on the job. There are 29 people who had contact with the deceased staff member who are currently being monitored for symptoms.
144 national staff and 19 international staff work at the IFRC treatment centre in Kenema. Since it opened in September, they have cared for more than 500 patients.
The IFRC notes that they follow very strict protocols for staff and volunteers, and takes their health and safety extremely seriously. However, there is no such thing as zero risk when fighting an infectious disease such as Ebola.
As of Jan. 11, Sierra Leone has reported 10,124 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of EVD, including 3,062 deaths.