A new case of death due to Ebola virus in Liberia was reported by authorities after the country has been declared free of the disease about seven weeks ago. The fatality is a man aged 17, whose corpse was tested positive for Ebola.
The teenager succumb to the disease on Wednesday, June 24 in the town called Nedowein, which is 48 kilometers south of the country's capital and is situated near the international airport. The remains of the man were safely buried the following day.
The manner of transmission or the exact circumstances how the man contracted the virus is unknown. Because Nedowein is quite distant to the borders of Guinea and Sierra Leone, investigators are looking at the possibility of travel to be the cause.
The investigators were able to obtain specimens from the man's remains and conduct the Ebola testing after his death and days before the burial.
"The only complication is that the person died before we tested the body as part of our surveillance system of testing living and dead people," says Tolbert Nyenswah, head of the Liberia's Ebola response.
Despite this latest news, Nyenswah said that contact tracing and necessary intervention are being performed in the town. He adds that there is reason to panic and that people should go about with their daily lives as usual. The process of the Ebola testing conducted on the corpse of the latest victim is actually an achievement for the surveillance system of the team, Nyenswah said.
The new confirmed mortality due to Ebola is quite unfortunate for the people of Liberia because the citizens have been very serious about performing preventive interventions such as correct hand washing in public areas, says Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, spokeswoman for the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER). Nonetheless, she hopes that the people would take this incident as a way to place themselves in a better stance to prevent further disease transmission. Liberians try to remain vigilant and this characteristic has impressed Lejeune-Kaba. Although the people rejoiced when the country was declared Ebola-free, their mindset still includes their continued increased risk as long as neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea remains infected, she said.
Earlier this month, Ban Ki-moon, United Nation Secretary General, said that all countries remain at risk as long as there is a single case of Ebola in West Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on May 9 that Liberia is Ebola-free following the 42-day absence of any disease report in the country. The virus continues to linger in the nearby Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Photo: UNMEER | Flickr