Health officials announced that 153 people in Liberia have been put under surveillance following the re-emergence of Ebola virus in the nation. The public health decision was made following three new confirmed cases of the virus, two months after the country was declared Ebola-free.
The new cases of infection originated in a suburb in Monrovia, which is the capital city of Liberia. The first one to be diagnosed was a 10-year-old boy, followed by his brother and father. The three new confirmed cases are currently being treated in an Ebola treatment unit in the city.
The re-emergence of Ebola in Monrovia is quite a mystery as there has been no sign of typical indicators of the virus such as contact with an infected individual, handling remains of humans or animals with confirmed Ebola and travel to infected regions. Nearby Guinea now has zero cases and Sierra Leone has just been declared free of the virus after the standard 42-day absence of a case.
Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) is exerting their efforts to uncover how the new cluster of disease came about in Monrovia.
"What we are investigating is whether there has been contact with body fluids of someone with persistent virus," said WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris. Harris is pertaining to an individual, who have already recovered from the disease but still has the virus within the body.
Meanwhile, health officials made house to house rounds in Duport Road, Paynesville on Saturday, Nov. 21. They provided food and water supply to families, who are considered at risk of contracting the virus.
The health ministry of Liberia encouraged the public to not panic, as its personnel are equipped with remarkable expertise in managing new cases and preventing additional transmission of the disease.
Despite the re-emergence of Ebola, Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO's special agent for Ebola response said that the new cases of the disease have not crippled the hopes that nations in West Africa are currently treading the path of eradicating the original outbreak.
Among the countries in West Africa, Liberia has the highest mortality rate due to Ebola, with 4,800 casualties. In the face of what is known to be the worst Ebola outbreak in history, the nation was deemed virus-free twice: the first declaration was made in May 2015 and the second was on Sept. 3, 2015.
Photo: UNMEER/Martine Perret | Flickr