Health authorites here say they have quarantined more than 150 contacts including 25 health workers, 10 of which have been described as high risk, as the first victim falls.
Authorities said the first confirmed victim, the 15 year old boy died late Monday night, while his father and sibling still remains at the Ebola Treatment Unit or ETU.
Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Francis Kateh, said little Nathan Gbotoe tested positive last week and died late Monday, 23 November in hospital in Paynesville, where his father and brother, also positive, are receiving medication.
Dr. Kateh, who addressed a news conference here Tuesday at the Ministry of Health in Congo Town, outside Monrovia, said 153 persons, who may have come in contact with the deceased prior to his death, have been placed under surveillance, while 25 healthcare workers are being monitored 10 of whom are identified as high-risk.
The Chief Medical Officer said the source of the latest virus is being investigated and Liberia has requested assistance from two experts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.
“It all started on Thursday, November 19th, when we received a report from one of our reference laboratories that a blood sample from a live patient tested positive for Ebola”, Dr. Dahn narrated in a press statement signed and released in Monrovia on Friday.
The announcement is the fourth wave of Ebola outbreak in Liberia, which lost over 4,000 citizens to the deadly virus in 2014, including Doctors, nurses and health workers.
Liberia had successfully defeated the virus thrice and subsequently declared Ebola-freed by the World Health organization. The latest confirmed cases come ahead of a scheduled trade and investment conference on November 30th in The Hague, Netherlands for the three most affected Ebola countries – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone has been recently declared Ebola-freed by the World Health Organization, while Guinea is in 42 days countdown to be formally declared Ebola-freed.
Minister Dahn further explained that the sample was taken from a patient, who presented with symptoms, including fever, weakness and bleeding at a hospital in Monrovia on November 19th.
“The hospital admitted and placed the patient in isolation. The patient’s blood sample tested positive and confirmatory test was conducted and also tested positive for Ebola”, the minister detailed.
She said the four patients and high risk contacts are in care of an Ebola Treatment Unit in Monrovia, adding, “The hospital is currently decontaminating the unit. All of the health care workers who came in contact with the patient have been notified.”
Just as the Country was on its first 42 days countdown last year to be declared Ebola-freed by the World Health Organization, a Liberian woman contracted the virus thru unprotected sex with a male survivor.
44-year-old Ruth Tugbeh, who was diagnosed positive on March 20, 2014 at the Redemption Hospital in the Borough of New Kru Town, died subsequently.
More than 11,300 people have died of the virus since the outbreak was announced in March 2014. Of the three countries hardest hit, Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free on Nov. 7 and Guinea started its own countdown to zero on Nov. 16. Over 4,800 people died of Ebola in Liberia, according to WHO figures.
By Ben P. Wesee-Edited by Jonathan Browne