Tag Archives: Liberia

Liberia Records New Ebola Death and Second Case

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Health officials reported on Friday, 1 April that a woman has died of Ebola in Liberia, months after the West African country was declared free of the deadly disease. The announcement also comes weeks after neighbouring Guinea also recorded a new flare-up. Just days later, on 3 April, officials confirmed that the woman’s five-year-old son has tested positive for Ebola.

According to a senior health ministry official, “a young lady in her early thirties died of Ebola yesterday at the Redemption Hospital,” adding that the government was preparing to release a statement on the new case. A hospital worker also confirmed that the woman had tested positive for the disease and died on Thursday, 31 March. Authorities are now checking everyone the woman was in contact with and ten health care workers from the hospital where the woman died are currently under observation. A source has disclosed that there are strong indications that the woman came from Guinea where they border was closed, adding that the woman had travelled with three of her children.

The new cases are a setback for Liberia, which had been declared free from transmission for a third time on 14 January. The region also continues to see a number of small flare-ups even after countries have received the all-clear. Liberia was first declared free of the disease in May 2015, however new cases emerged twice, effectively forcing officials to rese the clock in a nation where more than 4,800 people have died from the deadly virus. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Ebola was no longer an international health emergency, warning however that flare-ups, at decreasing frequency, were expected. Last month Guinea documented a series of new infections, highlighting the difficulty in stamping out the lingering epidemic. There are currently no known cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone, however in early April, the authorities announced that they have increased security measures along with screenings and surveillance points at all border crossings with Guinea.

More than 11,300 people died over the past two years in the world’s worst Ebola epidemic on record, with nearly all of them dying in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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Guinea Ebola Case Toll Climbs to Seven

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Despite the World Health Organization (WHO) voicing confidence that remaining isolated cases of Ebola could be contained, health officials confirmed on Wednesday 30 March that a resurgence of the deadly virus in a rural Guinean community has killed seven people. The news comes just a day after the WHO reported that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer constituted a international emergency.

The announcement of new cases demonstrates the continued difficulty of managing the aftermath of the virus. The death of a man, two of his wives and his daughter were announced by Guinean health authorities two weeks ago. On Wednesday, they confirmed that a third wife and a mother-in-law also died after becoming infected in the village of Korokpara. According to Fode Tass Sylla, spokesman for Guinea’s Ebola response unit, “on March 30, there are nine registered cases and seven deaths: three suspected and four confirmed.” Outside the family, a man died on 22 March after testing positive for the virus in the city of N’Zerekore. Sylla further disclosed that two more people, one suspected case and one confirmed, were receiving treatment at a dedicated Ebola facility in southern Guinea, not far from the border with Liberia. More than a thousand people who are believed to have come into contact with the victims are being monitored for symptoms and offered support by the authorities, with restrictions placed on their movements.

While the country was declared free of Ebola transmission at the end of last year, a significant number of deaths are believed to have gone unreported and flare-ups relating to the persistence of the virus in survivors’ bodies pose ongoing challenges. A WHO report on Ebola, which was released on Wednesday, disclosed that the virus present in the blood of one of the confirmed cases was “closely relate to (the) virus that circulated in southeastern Guinea in November 2014.” In its report, the WHO warned that “additional cases are likely because of the large number of contacts. Those most at risk are also being vaccinated against the virus.

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WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak No Longer International Emergency

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On 29 March, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer constitutes an international emergency as officials voiced confidence that remaining isolated cases in the affected countries can be contained.

Speaking to journalists, WHO chief Margaret Chan stated that “the Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern,” officially ending the emergency, which was first declared in August 2014. While the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has ended, officials have warned that flare-ups are likely to continue, with Chan stressing on Tuesday that all three previously affected countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – remain vulnerable to these flare-ups, including an ongoing cluster of cases reported in Guinea, which has left five people dead. Last week, health officials in Conakry reported that 961 people who may have come into contact with the victims in the southern region of the country were being monitored. Chan also warned against complacency towards the virus, which remains in “the ecosystem” in West Africa, adding that vigilance is crucial, including reacting quickly to new cases. She noted that “particularly important will be to ensure that communities can rapidly and fully engage in any future response, cases are quickly isolated and managed.”

The deadliest-ever outbreak of the tropical disease emerged in December 2013, and since then it has killed more than 11,300 people mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. At its peak in 2014, the Ebola outbreak sparked anxiety about a possible global pandemic and led some governments to threaten or unilaterally enforce travel bans to and from the worst-affected countries. The WHO consistently pushed back against such calls, with Chan again on Tuesday reiterating that “there should be no restrictions on travel and trade with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and that any such measures should be lifted immediately.” In the wake of the recent cluster of cases reported in southern Guinea, Liberia has closed its border with the country until further notice.

During the outbreak, the United Nation’s public health agency faced criticism over its initial response to the spread of Ebola, including accusations that it took far too long in order to publicise the threat level. In May 2015, the growing criticism forced the WHO to launch a sweeping shake-up of its emergency response systems. These efforts were seen this year, when the WHO was quick to sound the alarm in response to the rapid spread of the Zika virus.

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WHO Declares Sierra Leone Free of Ebola Transmissions but Warns of Future Flare-ups in the Region

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On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that a recent flare-up of Ebola in Sierra Leone is over after no new transmission of the disease were detected in the West African country. The UN health agency however warned that the virus could still resurface at any time.

The WHO has reported that Sierra Leone has had no new cases of the virus for 42 days, twice the length of the virus’s incubation period – the time that elapses between transmission of the disease and the appearance of symptoms. The WHO further indicated that it marked a milestone in the fight against Ebola, which has cost the lives of more than 11,300 people since 2013 in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in what was the world’s worst recorded outbreak of the disease. It warned however that more flare-ups are possible because the virus can persist in the eyes, central nervous system and bodily fluids of some survivors. In a statement, the WHO noted that “strong surveillance and emergency response capacity need to be maintained along with rigorous hygiene practices at home and in health facilities and active community participation.”

Sierra Leone was first declared free of Ebola transmissions in November 2015 before tests revealed one woman had died of the disease in January 2016, the same week that the WHO had declared the West African region free of new transmissions of the virus. The case of Mariatu Jalloh, a female student, displayed how easily Ebola can return if precautions are not taken and patients do not seek quick medical attention. Jalloh had travelled across the country and come into contact with dozens of people after contracting the illness. Family members washed her corpse after she died, considered dangerous since the virus is contagious for days after death. Experts say that while residents and authorities remain on edge across the region, in many areas, procedures to combat Ebola remain lax.

At least three people from the same family have died in recent weeks from diarrhea and vomiting in a remote village in southeastern Guinea, raising further concern about the disease spreading again. According to Fode Tass Sylla, spokesman for the National Coordination of the fight against Ebola in Guinea, “there is in the same family a woman who died on 29 February and husband a week later. Their child died yesterday.” Since 23 March, 5 people have died in the town, and over 800 have been placed under quarantine.

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Over 100 People Quarantined in Sierra Leone in Wake of Ebola Death as Second Ebola Case Confirmed

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More than 100 people have been quarantined in Sierra Leone after coming in contact with a woman who died of Ebola last week. Less than a week after the first confirmed case of Ebola in Sierra Leone, health authorities have confirmed a second case.

Last week, the WHO declared that “all known chains of transmission have been stopped in West Africa” after Liberia joined Sierra Leone and Guinea in going six weeks with no reported new cases of Ebola. Shortly after the announcement on Thursday, tests revealed that Mariatu Jalloh, a 22-year-old student, died of Ebola on 12 January. Her death has resulted in concern as authorities failed to follow basic protocols. According to a health report, Jalloh lived in a house with 22 people while she was unwell. Five people were involved in washing her corpse, a practice that is considered one of the main modes of Ebola transmission. In a joint statement, the Ministry of Health and Office of National Security disclosed that 109 people have so far been quarantined, 28 of whom are high-risk cases. While the source of the transmission remains unclear, in late December, the woman travelled near to the border with Guinea, one of the country’s last Ebola hot spots before it was declared Ebola free in December. The latest outbreak has caused anger, with reports emerging that in an apparent frustration at the latest case, the homes of some high-risk patients were attacked this weekend in Magburaka, the city about 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of the capital Freetown where Jalloh died. According to a local leader, in one case, a hut was burned down and that a barricade around two quarantined homes was dismantled. The latest unrest comes after demonstrators last week accused the health department of negligence at a local hospital that saw Jalloh as an outpatient before she died.

On Wednesday, health officials in Sierra Leone confirmed a new case of Ebola, its second in less then a week. The latest outbreak marks a further setback in efforts to end the two-year West African epidemic, which has killed more than 11,300 people. According to health ministry spokesman Sidi Yahyah Tunis, the new patient is a 38-year-old woman who is a relative who had helped care for the earlier victim, Mariatu Jalloh. Jalloh died from the disease on 12 January and tested positive for Ebola posthumously.

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