Liberia has confirmed a new case of Ebola, undermining growing hopes here that the country might soon be declared Ebola-free. The authorities had set April 13, 2015 to meet benchmark set by the W.H.O.
There had not been a new case in the past 20 days until a woman tested positive on Friday, March 20, 2015 in Monrovia.
The World Health Organization requires 42 days to elapse from the last known case before a country can be declared free of the virus. More than 4,000 people in Liberia have died from the disease.
Liberia thought it had discharged its final Ebola patient, Beatrice Yardolo, over two weeks ago.
But the Acting Head for the country’s Incident Management Team, Dr Francis Kateh, told the media in Monrovia, that a woman, who was taken into a treatment centre in the capital on Thursday had tested positive for the virus.
Dr Kateh said he was concerned that it had not been possible to establish how the woman became infected, as health workers had run out of “contacts” to pursue.
The authorities look to isolate anyone with whom, a patient has been in contact, and who may be carrying the disease.
He said health authorities now intended to investigate whether the woman had travelled abroad. On 5 March, Liberia discharged its last known patient, Beatrice Yardolo, from a treatment centre in Monrovia, sparking hopes that the country might be on its way to being officially declared Ebola-free.
Meanwhile, a team of international partners Saturday converged at the home of the newest Ebola carrier, an unidentified female, in the Caldwell Community on the outskirts of Monrovia to solicit information on how she contracted the virus.
The team comprised representatives of the US Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund, the Liberian Health Ministry and the More Than Me Institute.
The team reportedly interviewed family members of the victim and some residents of the compound where she resides, and members of nearby communities.
The woman, 53, started showing symptoms of the Ebola virus about three days ago and was proven positive after she sought treatment at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, Bushrod Island.
This paper gathered that the woman is a mother of five children and sells cooked food for a living, exposing her to multiple contacts.
There are about 60 persons living in her residential compound, which also has a school.
However, the infected woman is said to be admitted at the Medecins Sans Frontieres-run ELWA Ebola Treatment Unit near Monrovia.
Before the latest outbreak, Liberia had already gone over 21 days without a new case across the country.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor