Liberia’s Health Ministry authorities are making travel alerts in the wake of sharp rise in Ebola infection in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea, warning travellers “to be very much careful” not to come in contact with infected persons.
Libeia and its two neighboring countries Sierra Leone and Guinea which are still battling the Ebola outbreak, share scores of porous borders which marketers and inter-marriage families across either side commute almost daily.
The Liberian authorities’ warning on Monday, June 15 came amidst scareing update by the French medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres or MSF, warning that the deadly disease may return with force just a little over a month after the World Health Organization or WHO declared Liberia Ebola-freed.
In a phone conversation with the NewDawn newspaper Monday evening, Deputy Health Minister Mr. Tolbert Nyensuah who heads Liberia’s Incidence Management System indicated that Liberia was concerned that cases were incfreasing in Sierra Leone and Guinea, but concret steps and measures were being taken at the borders.
Mr. Nyensuah warned that people travelling from Liberia need to be very careful not to come in contact with infected persons; while also assuring that surveillance was being mounted at Liberia’s borders with its neighbors.
Ahead of the MSF warning this week, Mr. Nyensuah relected over a worrying situation that he said occurred during the weekend in Bong County when a lady in Liberia had encouraged her mother who had been sick in Guinea to come over to Liberia only to be seen bleeding upon being brought here.
Mr. Nyensuah reported that a checkpoint in Bong County pciked up the situation and quickly put the sick woman in an ambullance for testing in an Ebola Treatment Unit in Bong, but the fist test has so far come up negative.
“We are highly concerned, this happened during the weekend and Liberians themselves need to take charge. Cases are increasing in Sierra Leone and Guinea. We are doing everything possible to prevent any case here, we are keeping surveillance and concert steps and measures are being taken at the borders,” he said yesterday.
Liberia recorded more than four thousand deaths during the crisis that peaked last year before becoming Ebola-freed on May 9 this year ahead of Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The Ebola epidemic could flare up again in West Africa and health authorities are no better equipped to control it than they were a year ago, the head of medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Saturday.
“The reality today is if Ebola were to hit on scale it did in August and September, we would hardly do much better than we did the last time around,” Joanne Liu said on the sidelines of a meeting on Ebola in Dakar.
Leaders of the Group of Seven industrial nations vowed this week to wipe out the epidemic that has killed more than 11,100 people across West Africa, but offered little concrete action, it told the Reuters news agency.
While the virus is spreading more slowly than at the peak last year and Liberia has defeated the outbreak, cases have risen sharply in the past two weeks in Guinea and Sierra Leone.
“We’ve been disappointed by the World Health Assembly and again by the G7 in terms of their recommendations,” Liu, the international president of MSF, told Reuters. She was referring also to a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting last month.