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Liberia Ebola Death: New Case of Disease Reignites Spread Scare

Image: Liberia Ebola Death: New Case of Disease Reignites Spread Scare
Digital illustration of Ebola virus. (Ingridneumann/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Jun 2015 03:11 PM

Liberia is on high Ebola alert once again after a new death was announced Tuesday, just weeks after the World Health Organization declared the African country disease-free.

Illness struck an unnamed teenager in a Margibi County village on June 21, and the 17-year old died three days later. Tolbert Nyenswah, Liberian deputy minister for surveillance and disease control, confirmed that the boy’s remains tested positive for Ebola, according to USA Today.

“Liberia has got a re-infection of Ebola," Nyenswah said, according to The Associated Press.

Authorities are tracking 27 people who may have come close enough to the boy to contract the virus. Two households in the village are under quarantine, with officials regularly delivering food to them, the AP noted. Nyenswah has assured citizens that Liberian health workers’ ability to "quickly detect the [new] case means our system is working and is able to deal with any situation. No need to panic at this moment," said USA Today.

Tarik Jasarevic, WHO spokesman, seems to agree.

"Although this [Liberia Ebola death] is not the situation we were hoping for, this incident shows that the alert system is working, that there is the capacity to quickly identify, isolate, treat, and track every contact and stop further spread of the disease. It is critical that the Liberian people remain vigilant," he said.

Dr. Margaret Harris of the WHO added that the case is isolated.

“It does show that the system Liberia put into place is functioning well," she said, according to the AP.

Even with a positive prognosis from Liberian and WHO officials, there is still concern over the possibility of a second Ebola outbreak. The virus is highly infectious and is easily spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids.

Liberia cannot be declared Ebola-free again for at least another 42 days, the typical transmission period for the disease. And, even after that, there will be a 90-day Ebola surveillance system in place.

The first Ebola outbreak just months ago took the lives of more than 4,800 Liberians. Throughout Africa, more than 11,000 people died.

"The main concern here is: Did this man infect anybody else before he died?" Ben Neuman, University of Reading virologist, explained to the AP.

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Liberia is on high Ebola alert once again after a new death was announced Tuesday, just weeks after the World Health Organization declared the African country disease-free.
liberia, ebola, death, new, world health organization
370
2015-11-30
Tuesday, 30 Jun 2015 03:11 PM
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