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Five-Year Old Boy Tests Positive In Latest Ebola Flare-Up In Liberia

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After the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Ebola virus disease is off the label of an international health emergency, doctors in Liberia confirmed two new cases of the deadly virus in Liberia - a 30-year-old woman who died from the disease last week and her 5-year-old son.

Liberia's Ministry of Health, partner agencies and WHO immediately sent a team of experts to the community outside Monrovia where the woman lived and the clinic where she was treated to identify the people who came in close contact with the woman.

"A five-year-old boy, the son of the deceased, tested positive early on Sunday morning," said Tolbert Nyenswah, Deputy Health Minister.

The latest cases are the third flare-up of Ebola in Libera since the country declared that the crisis was over in May 2015. The health officials, however, hypothesize that the woman and her family, crossed from Guinea while the border was closed.

Additional Flare-Ups Expected

WHO said that additional flare-ups are expected in the next coming months because some survivors are still harboring the virus. Health officials urge the three countries - Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, which was ravaged in the last Ebola outbreak, to stay alert and prepared to respond in cases of flare-ups. This will help prevent the re-emergence of the virus that killed more than 11,300 people.

Liberia is not the only country who experienced a flare up since the outbreak surpassed. Sierra Leone and Guinea had their own taste of these flare-ups every now and then. In Southeast Guinea, the fifth patient of its latest Ebola virus died on March 22.

Sierra Leone also experienced a flare-up but since the country's health officials immediately acted upon the emergence of the new case, the possible outbreak was contained.

Looking Back

In 2014, the WHO announced that Ebola is an international health emergency with thousands of deaths and infections. By May 2015, Liberia was declared Ebola-free but new cases emerged in July of the same year. 

The Ebola outbreak, the largest outbreak of an infection the West Africa has witnessed, infected more than 28,600 people in the countries affected. The outbreak started in late 2013 and ravaged through the continent for more than a year, before the number of cases gradually decreased.

Ebola virus is a very infectious disease that can cause severe complications in those affected. The disease could be passed from one person to another through body secretions that is why health care professionals and close contacts of patients are at most risk of infection. 

Photo: CDC Global | Flickr 

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