In its attempt to control a fresh Ebola outbreak in its capital city, Liberia has placed a total of 153 people under surveillance. This decision has been taken more than a couple of months after WHO declared the country free of the deadly virus.
This Friday saw as many as three new Ebola cases emerging in Liberia. The first among these new patients was Nathan Gbotoe, a 15-year-old boy from Paynesville. For those who don’t know: Paynesville is a suburb located at the east of Liberia’s capital city Monrovia. Since the teen’s diagnosis, two more members of his family have been confirmed to be infected by the virus. Right now, all three are hospitalized.
Dr. Francis Kateh, the chief medical officer of Liberia, said that at present they have confirmed three cases of Ebola infection and have listed a total of 153 contacts. He added that the listed contacts have been labeled as low, medium, and high in terms of the risk.
More than 4,800 people died in Liberia during the worst ever Ebola outbreak in recorded history. The West African country has been declared Ebola-free twice by the World Health Organization (WHO), first in May 2015 and then again on September 3, 2015. However, the emergence of these three new cases proved that the virus is still very much there.
It’s not yet known how Gbotoe got the infection; Kateh, when asked about the source of the infection, refused to provide any explanation saying that investigations are underway.
Experts are saying that cross-border transmission appears unlikely. This is because neighboring country Guinea has no case of the virus reported and Sierra Leone has been declared Ebola-free earlier this month after no new cases emerged there for 42 days.
Health officials in Liberia spent their Saturday going to every house in Paynesville’s Duport Road neighborhood delivering water and food to neighbors of the Ebola-infected family, who are all believed to be at risk of catching the infection.
Elizabeth Powel, a neighbor of Gbotoe’s family, said that for her the bigger concern now is a loss of income and not high chances of catching Ebola, which spreads through a sick individual’s bodily fluids. She is basically worried about her business and food. Liberia’s economy has been hit strongly by the Ebola outbreak, and the country would need some time to recover from it.