Seven weeks after being declared Ebola-free, Liberia has found a second case of the deadly disease, sparking fears that the country could find itself back in the middle of an epidemic if precautions are not put in place.
WHO said there were 20 confirmed cases of Ebola reported in the week to 28 June, the same as the previous week, including two new health worker infections in Boke, Guinea, bordering Guinea-Bissau. Liberia’s authorities quarantined the area after the teenager’s death saying his funeral was carried out safely.
It is not clear how he was infected and the information was not made public until Tuesday.
The worst outbreak of the virus has claimed more than 11,200 lives, mostly in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, which was recently declared Ebola-free and can stage worldwide football. “It is critical that the Liberian people remain vigilant and continue all prevention measures to stop the spread of Ebola“, Dr. Dhan said via ABC. “So there is an active case search and finding contact tracing going on in the Unification town of Nendonwein areas”.
The new cases have raised anxiety across the globe, placing Liberia once again on the radar of global health authorities. The World Health Organisation reports that each country now has enough treatment beds to be able to isolate and treat patients with Ebola, and to bury everyone known to have died of the disease. “We do not have cases at our borders, not even in Monrovia“. This new infection may be a key setback for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s president, who is attempting to recover from a potential $240 million stumbling block to her country’s underprivileged economy due to the epidemic.
About a dozen health workers who had contact with the teenager are under self-observation at a medical centre, and there were no other probable or suspected cases, said Mr Nyenswah.
A neighbour of the boy also later tested positive.
“Liberia has got a re-infection of Ebola”, Tolbert Nyenswah, deputy health minister and head of Liberia’s Ebola response team, told The Associated Press.
“Other people with symp-toms who have been in contact with the boy are under investigation”. Liberia’s neighbors, Sierra Leone and Guinea, are still recording several new cases every week.
In past outbreaks, humans have been infected by eating monkey flesh, and a number of West African nations have banned the consumption of bush meat as a precaution. Ebola is much harder to catch: estimates of R0 in different parts of the outbreak range from 1.5 to 2.2.
Massaquoi said that tests were underway to establish whether there are further cases. “I don’t know all the details; but, I am very confident that our incident management system has the capability to contain this to isolate this and to keep it where it is so it doesn’t go any further”, said Sirleaf.