Growing hopes in Liberia and elsewhere that the deadly Ebola virus disease could very soon be a history may just be far the reality.
For 21-days- just half way to the benchmark of 42 before the country can be officially declared Ebola-free, there had been no new case of the disease until on Friday, March 20, 2015 when news of a woman infected with the virus and confirmed by health authorities was reported.
This alarming development is emerging after the country’s last know Ebola patient (Beatrice Yardolo) was discharged from an Ebola Treatment Unit or ETU in Monrovia on 5 March, creating high hopes for an Ebola-free Liberia shortly.
Investigation by health authorities of how the woman became infected commenced last Saturday- a day after she tested positive.
More worrisome about the latest case is that the infected woman is yet to be either linked to Ebola contacts list or recent foreign travel, especially to Guinea and Sierra Leone- tow of Liberia’s currently infected neighbors, even though authorities were considering the possibility of her either harboring a visitor from outside Liberia who may have infected her or she may have had sex with a survivor.
Whatever the situation may be, it is our hope that Liberian health authorities will be as fast as possible in establishing how the new Ebola case came about.
Moreover, the high complacency characterizing the country’s fight against the disease to the end has and will continue to be of serious threat to our success of being declared Ebola-free- this, we blame the Government of Liberia and ourselves as a people.
It is no secret that our anxiety as a people and government of meeting the 42-day benchmark as a requirement under the standards of the World health Organization or WHO is a attributing factor to such complacency has resulted to the first confirmed case in 20-days.
Not being cognizant of the fact that Ebola was still “raging hell” in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone and that the possibility of the transmission of the disease by these infected countries was high, we became overwhelmed by the 42-day WHO benchmark to be Ebola-free and forgot to stick to the basic preventive measures and public awareness that led us to the decline of the virus.
The emergence of the new case may just be a reminder that it is over until it is over, i.e., we must continue to fight Ebola with all our might as if we were still fighting the disease in August, September and October of 2014.