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May 27, 2014 – The Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium (VHFC) is very concerned about the recent deaths from Ebola Virus Disease in Koindu, Kailahun District bordering the current Ebola epicenter of Gueckedou, Guinea. Seven samples from that area have since been confirmed to be positive for Zaire ebolavirus at the Lassa Laboratory at Kenema Government Hospital (KGH). These efforts are being led by Physician In-Charge Dr. S. Humarr Khan and the Director of the Lassa Laboratory Mr. Augustine Goba under a mandate from the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation in collaboration with Tulane University, Metabiota, Harvard University and the Broad Institute.

In response to these confirmed cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone, the VHFC has mobilized a response team for rapid arrival at Kenema Government Hospital (KGH). The team is comprised of Dr. Robert Garry, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Tulane University School of Medicine, and Principle Investigator of the Consortium; as well as Dr. Lina Moses, PhD, Field Sites Manager. Their goals are to support clinical diagnoses at KGH, provide support for case investigations, as well as to resupply needed protective equipment for the continued biosafety of all personnel.

The Lassa Laboratory at KGH represents a crucial clinical and diagnostic center for viral hemorrhagic fevers and is one of only two sites in West Africa focusing on the diagnosis of VHFs. Following the Guinean Ebola outbreak of March 2014, the VHFC established a field team comprising of Dr. Kristian Andersen, Dr. Lina Moses and Stephen Gire, to provide technical and field support for combatting the possible threat of Ebola spreading to Sierra Leone. At that time, two separate Ebola assays were optimized for rapid field deployment. Three days ago, these diagnostic tools helped Sierra Leonean researchers at KGH detect Zaire ebolavirus in a patient for the first time in Sierra Leone.

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