The Director for the National Public Health Institute of Liberia or NPHIL, Tolbert Nyenswah, assures Liberians and residents there is no Ebola outbreak in the country or the subregion.
The assurance comes amidst public fear here, following a resurface of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa for the ninth time, with 51 cases reported, including 28 confirmed. The Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia in 2014 took over 5,000 lives.
Speaking at the Ministry of Information’s regular press briefing in Monrovia Thursday, 24 May Nyenswah explains there has been no travel restriction imposed, saying that the outbreak in DR Congo is at a low risk and has not posed threat on international travels.
However, he encourages Liberians to continue hands washing and other preventive measures. He reveals that Liberia has been experiencing lasser fever outbreak, a disease that is contracted from animals like rats and cockroaches, amongst others.
He says lasser fever is found in Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa, Lofa, Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Kru counties, respectively. “People are still eating rats, leaving their food open, so we still have these cases coming up but we have measures put in place to control the lasser fever especially, in those counties that are now experiencing lasser fever.” He notes.
According to him, since the establishment of the National Public Health Institute, they have fought very hard to diagnose lasser fever here, but notes that since Liberia was founded in 1847, the disease has been very difficult to diagnose in country, recalling that specimen used to be taken to Sierra Leone for laboratory test.
Notwithstanding, the NPHIL boss says Liberia can diagnose its own lasser fever cases, adding that since NPHIL came into being one year, three months ago, the country has been more advanced in handling health cases and the institute has the capability now to detect diseases.
He also assures post-Ebola Liberia is ten times safer than the pre-Ebola era, but stresses need to train more public health workers to handle cases whenever the need arises without bringing in foreign health workers like they did during the Ebola crisis.
He reiterates the need to keep on with the hands washing exercise and other measures that help to prevent other diseases besides Ebola, including keeping food covered and safe from rats and cockroaches to prevent lasser fever.
By Ethel A. Tweh –Editing by Jonathan Browne