Liberia mon­i­tors over 150 Ebola con­tacts

Cause of three new Ebola cases un­known

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

MON­ROVIA: Liberia has placed 153 peo­ple un­der sur­veil­lance as it seeks to con­trol a new Ebola out­break in the cap­i­tal more than two months af­ter the coun­try was de­clared free of the virus, health of­fi­cials said. Three Ebola cases emerged in Liberia on Fri­day. The first of the new pa­tients was a 15year-old boy called Nathan Gbotoe from Pay­nesville, a sub­urb east of the cap­i­tal Mon­rovia. Two other fam­ily mem­bers have since been con­firmed as pos­i­tive and they are all hos­pi­tal­ized.

“We have three con­firmed cases and have listed 153 con­tacts, and we have la­beled them as high, medium and low in terms of the risk,” Liberia’s Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer Dr Fran­cis Kateh told Reuters late on Satur­day. The West African coun­try has suf­fered the high­est death toll in the worst known Ebola out­break in history, los­ing more than 4,800 peo­ple. It has twice been de­clared Ebola-free by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, once in May and again on Sept 3, only for new cases to emerge. It is not known how Gbotoe was in­fected and Kateh did not of­fer any ex­pla­na­tion, say­ing that in­ves­ti­ga­tions were on­go­ing. Cross-border trans­mis­sion seems un­likely since neigh­bor­ing Guinea has zero cases while Sierra Leone was de­clared Ebola-free this month af­ter 42 days with­out a case.

In the Du­port Road neigh­bor­hood of Pay­nesville, health of­fi­cials went from house to house on Satur­day de­liv­er­ing food and wa­ter to neigh­bors of the in­fected fam­ily, deemed at risk of catching the dis­ease. Un­like in pre­vi­ous months, there were no bar­ri­ers or sol­diers to en­force quar­an­tines. Neigh­bor El­iz­a­beth Pow­ell said she was more wor­ried about lost in­come than catching Ebola, which is trans­mit­ted through the bod­ily flu­ids of the sick.

“I am wor­ried about food and my busi­ness,” she said. The epi­demic has crip­pled Liberia’s econ­omy and Pres­i­dent Ellen John­son-Sir­leaf says it will take two years to re­cover. The pre­vi­ous resur­gence of Ebola in Liberia is thought to have been via sex­ual trans­mis­sion since the virus can ex­ist in the se­men of male sur­vivors for at least nine months af­ter in­fec­tion, much longer than its in­cu­ba­tion pe­riod in blood. It is also the­o­ret­i­cally pos­si­ble for an in­fected an­i­mal to trig­ger a fresh chain of trans­mis­sion. The in­dex case in the West African out­break that has killed around 11,300 peo­ple was a child be­lieved to have been in­fected by a bat. — Reuters

MON­ROVIA: A uniden­ti­fied fam­ily mem­ber, right, of a 10-year old boy that con­tracted Ebola, has her tem­per­a­ture mea­sured by a health worker be­fore en­ter­ing the Ebola clinic where the child is be­ing treated on the out­skirts of Mon­rovia. — AP

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