Ebola Virus Disease Is Back and Spreading

Ebola Virus Disease
A 17-year-old boy, Abraham Memaigar, was found in rural Liberia on Sunday, June 28. His death and an autopsy revealed that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is back and spreading. Abraham worked at a local market selling clothes. It is unlikely that he got the virus from a neighboring country, but it is speculated that he got it from an animal source, such as eating monkey flesh.

When he got sick, he showed all signs consistent with Ebola–vomiting, fever, and diarrhea, yet the local clinic misdiagnosed him with Malaria. A cotton swab test came back positive for Ebola. Memaigar was laid to rest by an Ebola burial team. Dr. Moses Massaquoi, the doctor on the case, then had the body exhumed for a more detailed test, which also came back positive. The biggest task for doctors regarding Ebola is to determine if the disease is the same strain that had previously been fought, or if it a new, stronger strain of the virus.

Although Liberia had been declared free of the Ebola Virus Disease as of May 9 by the World Health Organization (WHO), this death is the second within the last week in Liberia. Liberia is the country with most deaths–approximately 5,000 from the Ebola Virus Disease.

Sadly, late Tuesday, a neighbor who had connections to Memaigar also tested positive for the virus. Meanwhile, inconclusive results were obtained from two more people. Doctors are monitoring 33 people who have been isolated at home because they have been identified as having had contact with Memaigar. Another 100 individuals have been identified as having come in contact with the teen and are being monitored but not isolated. With the help of the United States, Liberia had set up response units to treat infected individuals. Now, the response units that had been in the process of being closed down have had to admit three individuals.

The incident of Ebola in Liberia coincides with hundreds of protesters from other Liberia centers, who claimed that they have not been paid what is owed to them by the Ministry of Health. In eastern Monrovia, generators were shut down by protestors. The Minister of Health in Liberia, Bernice Dahn, claims that 99 percent of workers have been paid what is owed to them, in addition to hazard benefits for the work that they did.

The Deputy Minister of Health in Liberia, Tolbert Nyenswah, confirmed that the Ebola Virus Disease is back and spreading. Ebola remains a strong presence in Sierra Leone and Guinea, with an average of twenty cases per week between the two nations, and has claimed the lives of 11,200 Africans. It has only been one year since the virus spread beyond Africa to incidences in the Unites States and Europe. The Ebola virus was under control in Liberia because of concerted intergovernmental efforts and millions of dollars.

The Ebola Virus Disease is most contagious in the late stages and is spread through bodily fluids including blood, saliva, sweat, vomit, breast milk, and semen. During the last epidemic, clinics across the United States implemented screening protocols to identify travelers to West Africa. Although they have not yet been implemented this time around, these protocols have already been created and are ready to be activated under the direction of the World Health Organization if and when they officially declare that the Ebola Virus Disease is back and spreading beyond West Africa.

By Olivia Uribe-Mutal
Edited By Leigh Haugh

Time -Ebola Cases Resurface in Liberia After 2 Months of Being Ebola-Free
New York Times – New Cases of Ebola Put an End to Liberia’s Status as Virus-Free
Wall Street Journal – Liberia Confirms Second Case of Ebola After Being Declared Free of Virus
Reuters – Liberia finds Two Ebola Cases Weeks After Being Declared Free of It
Image Courtesy of UNMEER’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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