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Photograph: Photo by UNMEER, used under CC BY-ND

A second case of the Ebola virus was reported in Sierra Leone on Thursday, barely a week after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the outbreak had ended in West Africa.

The victim, the 38-year-old aunt of a woman who died from Ebola last week, tested positive for the virus while she was under quarantine at a facility in Magburaka, in the north of the country, said Sidi Yayah Tunis, a spokeswoman for the National Ebola Response Centre in Sierra Leone.

"Every effort is being made to capture all those that came in contact with the deceased," Tunis said.

The woman, 22, died in Magburaka on January 12, one day after the WHO declared an end to the virus' outbreak in West Africa.

"A massive search is ongoing in Freetown for the stepfather of the 22-year-old," Tunis said.

Vaccinations were being carried out throughout the province in an attempt to stop the spread.

"We were celebrating after the World Health Organization announced us free of this disease and now we have to start again as new confirmed cases are coming," said Tunis.

"We are not happy and we are worried as a nation." 

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which started in Guinea in December 2013, was the largest in history, spreading to Sierra Leone, Libiera and Nigeria.

It also reached Europe and the United States, where isolated cases of the disease reported.

More than 11,300 people have died since the outbreak started, while 28,500 have been infected, according to the WHO's latest figures.

Sierra Leone was declared free of Ebola transmission on November 7, Guinea on December 29 and Liberia on January 14.

Ebola, which was discovered in 1976 and is passed on through contact with blood and other bodily fluids, causes massive haemorrhaging and has a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent if left untreated. 

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