Peter Piot: Ebola, a long and bumpy tale

Piot says the international medical community needs to be ready for a long, sustained effort.

Peter Piot the Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Picture: Screengrab Youtube

PRETORIA - Peter Piot, who's just returned from Sierra Leone, warns that vaccines against Ebola will take time to develop.

Currently the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Piot notes the worst Ebola outbreak the world has seen has peaked in Liberia and is likely to peak in Sierra Leone in the next few weeks.

However, the epidemic could have a very long and bumpy tale. He says people are still dying and new cases are being detected.

Piot says the international medical community needs to be ready for a long, sustained effort, which will probably continue until the end of 2015.

SIERRA LEONE DISTRICT DECLARES THREE-DAY EBOLA LOCKDOWN

Sierra Leone's northern district of Port Loko, the area with the highest rate of Ebola transmissions, plans a three-day lockdown over Christmas as it seeks to contain the disease's spread.

Sierra Leone is the worst-hit country in West Africa with over 9,000 cases. The rate of infection is fastest in the capital Freetown and the neighbouring province of Port Loko, where 44 out of a total 58 new cases were reported on Wednesday.

"Port Loko will do a lockdown and a house-to-house campaign to find the sick," said OB Sisay, an official in the National Ebola Response Centre. He said the new measures would start at midnight on Wednesday and could be extended into the new year.

Sierra Leone has also banned Christmas parties and other festivities nationwide in an effort to stop the epidemic.