The two new confirmed cases could be the start of another crisis for Liberia if not handled but health authorities are confident that the situation will be put under control.
“Over 100 people are listed as contacts and all are being monitored closely”, said World Health Organization spokeswoman Dr Margaret Harris in an e-mail to Reuters.
“We heard on radio that Ebola has turned around to come back to Liberia“, said Samanta Blamo, 55, another stallholder at the Redlight market.
The government was deploying epidemiologists on Wednesday in an emergency containment operation to trace the teenage victim’s final few days and ensure anyone with whom he may have had contact was isolated and under observation.
Deputy health minister Tolbert Nyenswah said tests confirmed that the teenager from Nedowein village, near the global airport, had died of the disease on 28 June.
People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola. Liberian health officials have beefed up surveillance in the area and have quarantined two households, according to earlier reports.
The latest case comes barely 2 months after the country was declared Ebola-free on May 9. “So far we remain on standby and are willing and able to assist if anyone needs it”.
A USA military operation that helped Liberia’s government counter the outbreak has mostly withdrawn.
The IFRC announced it was expanding its operations in the three countries in a bid to stamp out the virus now that the case numbers have been reduced to between 20 and 27 a week, compared to hundreds a week at the disease’s peak. In the new case, the teenage boy was treated for malaria, and was only diagnosed with Ebola after his death.
Moreover, because so much has been found out about Ebola both in medical terms and in terms of general public understanding, the new outbreak will be regarded more calmly.
According to Washington Post, the case has placed Liberia in the hot spot again after reporting no new infections in the last two months.
“It is like being kicked in the gut but at least we knew it might be coming”, said Sheldon Yett, the representative for the United Nations children’s agency Unicef in Liberia.
Massaquoi said that tests were underway to establish whether there are further cases.
While noting that prevention of Ebola remains a shared responsibility by all citizens, Osunkiyesi stated that although there has not been any reported case of EVD in the state or the Country, there is need for residents to take responsibility for their health. However, it’s unlikely that these patients became infected with Ebola because they ate dog meat, as the virus has never been shown to spread this way, Goodman said.