MS Risk Blog

New Ebola Cases Reported in Liberia After Country is Declared Free of Disease

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After reporting no confirmed cases of EVD since 20 March, and subsequently being declared Ebola-free by the WHO on 9 May, routine surveillance detected two confirmed cases of EVD in the town of Nedowein, Margibi County.

The initial case is a 17-year-old male who first became ill on 21 June. After checking into a local health facility, the patient was treated for malaria and discharged. He died on 28 June and received a safe burial the same day. An oral swab taken before the burial subsequently tested positive twice for EVD. On Wednesday, workers exhumed the 17-year-olds body. According to an official, new tests will help to determine the mode of transmission.

On 1 July, Liberian officials confirmed a second Ebola case in the same town. According to Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyeswah, the infected person has since been moved to Monrovia. Since then, officials have identified 102 contacts, however the number is expected to increase as investigations continue. At this stage, local officials have indicated that the origin of infection is unknown. The initial case reportedly had no recent history of travel, contact with visitors from affected areas, or funeral attendance. The area of Nedowein has since been placed under quarantine.

On Wednesday, more than 100 Ebola centre workers stormed the Ministry of Health in eastern Monrovia, demanding that they be paid hazard pay, which they have indicated they have not received since the country was declared Ebola-free. According to Health Minister Bernice Dahn, Liberia has paid hazard benefits to “99 percent” of people who worked in the Ebola treatment units in addition to their regular salaries, adding that if there are people who feel that they have not been paid, “they should come forward” and make their case with the ministry.

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