Monday 16 September 2019

New case of Ebola hits Liberia two months after all-clear

Liberia had been declared Ebola-free on September 3
Liberia had been declared Ebola-free on September 3

Health officials in Liberia have confirmed a new case of Ebola more than two months after the west African nation was declared free of the deadly disease for a second time.

It is a setback for Liberia, one of three countries hit hardest by the worst Ebola outbreak in history. There have been more than 10,600 cases and over 4,800 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.

Liberia was first declared Ebola-free on May 9, but new cases emerged in June resulting in two deaths. The WHO declared the country Ebola-free again on September 3.

The new case is a 10-year-old boy who lives in the eastern Paynesville district of Monrovia, said Francis Kateh, chief medical officer and acting head of Liberia's Ebola Case Management System.

Dr Kateh said the boy was being taken to a treatment centre outside Monrovia.

"Yes, yes, you can say confirmed," he said when asked if the case had been confirmed to be Ebola.

He added that officials were trying to find out how the boy contracted the disease.

On Thursday night, before the new case was reported, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf delivered a speech praising "the resilience" of Liberians in overcoming Ebola.

"Without the individual and collective support and co-operation of all our citizens and residents, it would have been difficult to defeat this scourge," Ms Sirleaf said.

The new case in Liberia was announced days after Guinea, the country where the epidemic started, said it had no more Ebola cases and was beginning a 42-day countdown towards being declared free of Ebola transmission.

Guinea had been the last country with any cases, as Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free on November 7.

PA Media

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