Liberia is once again under the close watch of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after a mystery illness has claimed 11 lives to date. While symptoms of the mystery illness mimic those of early stage Ebola, samples from the deceased tested negative for the disease.
Investigations are now underway after 11 individuals, most of whom under the age of 21, died as a result of a mystery illness since April 24. The WHO rapid-response teams, as well as the CDC and other partners have been quickly dispatched to investigate the case, which reports say is linked to the victims' attendance to the funeral of a religious leader.
Apart from the 11 individuals who died from the unknown illness, five others are currently hospitalized at the Francis Grant Hospital in Greenville, Sinoe County. At least 17 people were affected with the unknown illness.
While all of the patients experienced symptoms related to early stage Ebola such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache, seven out of the 11 samples from the deceased tested negative for Ebola. Further tests are currently being done abroad to root out the cause of the unexplained deaths.
As of the moment, officials are looking into other possible causes of the illness such as food and drink consumption, or environmental exposure to bacteria or chemicals.
In Liberia, even if the disease is already under control, survivors of the outbreak still experience a certain level of shame and discrimination as a result of the findings that state how the Ebola virus could stay in some parts of the body even after recovery.
Now, almost a year after the end of the latest Ebola outbreak, a mystery illness is claiming lives yet again and the WHO and other health organizations are quick to take action.
Unprepared For Outbreaks
Early in 2017, an international team of experts weighed in on the response rates and methods done to manage the last Ebola outbreak. Their research discussed key points and problems in the way the latest Ebola outbreak was handled, and concluded that there are still many deficiencies in the way the outbreak was handled, and that the response showed just how unprepared the world is for infectious disease outbreaks.
On WHO's part, they are continuously surveying the world's health situation in order to contain and control infectious diseases before they even spread.