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Gov’t investigates new Ebola source

Liberian authorities are investigating the source of a new Ebola victim, a 17 years old boy, who tested positive and subsequently died on June 24th in Margibi County.

The deceased is the first reported case since the World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-freed on May 9 and formally certificated the Government of Liberia.

Deputy Health and Social Welfare Minister, and head of the Incident Management System, Tolbert Nyenswah, told the VOA Tuesday, July 1 that the government hasn’t been able to establish the source of the latest infection.

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Nyenswah however clarified that the new case is not traceable to neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone, two countries still battling the epidemic, respectively. News of the latest infection comes amidst recent rumor in Monrovia that there were new cases in Lofa County, northern Liberia, but the government denied. 

He said tests confirmed that the 17 years old victim, who hailed from a town near the Roberts International Airport in Margibi, died of Ebola. “Officials are investigating how he contracted Ebola”, the deputy minister of health added.

No one knows for sure many persons the deceased may have come in contact since he was infected and up to his death.  Nyenswah’s comments are no different from an earlier position held by the government in March this year just as the country was counting 42 days to become Ebola freed when a female resident of Caldwell Township, a Monrovia suburb, tested positive at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town and died on March 25.

Health officials at the time were not emphatic on how the 44-year-old victim might had contracted the virus, but multiple sources hinted the press that she got infected thru sexual intercourse with a boyfriend, an Ebola survivor said to have resided in the Borough of New Kru Town, on Bushrod Island.

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That single case in 2014 reverted the government’s gains, forcing it to start a recount of 42 days, which is two incubation periods (21 days each) for the virus to become fatal in an infected person.

The late Ruth Tugbeh was a cooked food seller, but became sick for some time and her health condition rapidly deteriorated, which led family members to have called in the response team to take her to Redemption Hospital where doctors diagnosed her Ebola positive.

She died subsequently while being catered to at a Chinese-run Ebola Treatment Unit at Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Stadium in Paynesville. Liberia was declared Ebola freed about six weeks ago following the deadliest outbreak in the disease’s history.

Meanwhile, more than 11,000 people have died of the disease since December 2013 majority of them from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The three countries had largely restricted the spread of the disease, but the number of new cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone has risen recently, with the start of the rainy season in West Africa.

Fear has gripped many Liberians following news of a new case involving a 17years old boy, who tested positive died.

Nurses and doctors most of whom succumbed to the virus while on the frontline last year in fighting the deadly Ebola Virus Disease outbreak here, have reportedly begun rejecting patients at clinics and hospitals in and around Monrovia for fear of taking in unsuspected cases. By Ethel A. Tweh – Editing by Jonathan Browne

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