Liberia Reports New Ebola CaseMarch 24, 2015 in Liberia
Liberia has confirmed its first new Ebola case in more than a month, resulting in a major setback as the country had hoped to be soon declared free of the deadly disease.
On Friday, government spokesman Lewis Brown disclosed, “a woman has been confirmed as an Ebola patient… This is a new case after we have gone more than 27 days without a single case. It is a setback.” The woman has been transferred to the ELWA Ebola treatment unit in the capital Monrovia. Dr Francis Kateh, acting head of the Liberia Ebola Case Management team, has disclosed that the patient does not seem to be linked to any of the people on an Ebola contact list and that she has stated that she did not travel recently to any of the neighbouring infected countries. Authorities are now considering the possibility that she had a visitor from outside Liberia who infected her or that “…she may have contracted the virus through sexual intercourse with a survivor.” Officials are now compiling a list of people who came into contact with the patient who will be monitored for symptoms. While Liberia had not reported any new cases for several weeks, health officials warned that even after areas are declared free of the deadly disease, new cases were still possible due to sexual transmission.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) had announced that Liberia had registered no new case of the deadly virus since 19 February. On 5 March, Liberia discharged its last confirmed Ebola patient, Beatrice Yordoldo. In the week leading up to 15 March, surveillance and early warning systems had detected 125 suspected cases of Ebola however none of them tested positive for the deadly virus. Liberia had started its 42-day countdown towards being considered Ebola-free on 4 March and would have been cleared by 15 April.
At the height of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Liberia was the hardest hit country and has seen more than 4,000 deaths. According to the latest figures released by the WHO, since the outbreak began in December 2013, 24,753 people in nine countries have been infected with the virus, and 10,236 have died. All but fifteen of those deaths occurred in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.