As an early warning, we are constrained to draw the attention of the Government of Liberia to the alarming news of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in neighboring Guinea. With a reported fatality of at least 59 and fears the virus may have spread to neighboring Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization, the urgent need for government’s attention to northern Liberia, most especially Lofa, Bong and Nimba, must be emphasized.
The BBC quoted the WHO as saying since February 9, cases of the disease, which kills 90% of people infected, have already been registered in three towns in the Southeast of Guinea (the Forest Region) and Conakry, the Capital- the first recorded cases in that country. The Guinean health Ministry is quoted as confirming the outbreak of the deadly disease, noting that 80 suspected cases, including 59 deaths have been reported. A laboratory in Lyon, France has also confirmed the disease in the neighboring country.
The WHO is also quoted as confirming that cases showing similar symptoms – fever, diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding – had also been reported in an area of Sierra Leone near its border with Guinea. Considering Liberia’s nearness to the Guinea Forest region and eastern Sierra Leone, where this killer disease has been confirmed, the Liberian Government must now put into place all of the urgent and necessary proactive mechanisms against the spread of the Ebola virus here. If the government had not been aware of this sad development, now is the time to move with all of the efforts, including those with international medical charities operating in the country in preparedness for any eventuality in the north of the country.
Our fear has arisen not only out of the news reports of this deadly disease, but the possibility of a spill-over, owing to the constant and daily commerce and trade activities between Liberia and Guinea on one hand, and Liberia and Sierra Leone on the other. Ebola is contagious and can be contracted through close contact with infected animals, including chimpanzees, gorillas and monkeys. The disease also spreads easily between humans. It is most commonly found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, South Sudan and Gabon.
We can only hope and pray that the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare will heed to this EARLY WARNING to move faster in effecting proactive preventative measures to avoid the spread of the virus to Liberia, especially in the counties of Lofa, Bong and Nimba since they share common borders with Guinea’s Forest Region and Eastern Sierra Leone in Kalahun District.