Liberia: Health Authorities Testing Suspected Ebola Case; Urge Calm – Front Page Africa

The patient, according to the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they have not been given the greenlight to publicly comment on the case, said the patient is being treated at the MEDICOVER Clinic, Soul Clinic Branch and is currently in self isolation. The clinic is also under surveillance awaiting lab result from Redemption Hospital. 

Monrovia – Health authorities in Liberia are urging calm amid reports of a suspected case of the deadly Ebola Virus deriving from next-door Guinea.

An official from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare confirmed to FrontPageAfrica early Thursday that tests are currently being conducted on a suspected case of the killer virus. That result, the source said should be ready by the end of business day Thursday.

The patient, a female, reportedly came from Guinea Wednesday evening and is currently at the Redemption Hospital awaiting lab work. 

The potential index case patient, reportedly returned from Nzerkoure, one of the troubled spots in Guinea few days ago with high fever and running stomach and was on medication at a local clinic around the FDA Community in Paynesville for about three days before going to MEDICOVER Clinic. 

The patient, according to the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they have not been given the greenlight to publicly comment on the case, said the patient is being treated at the MEDICOVER Clinic, Soul Clinic Branch and is currently in self isolation. The clinic is also under surveillance awaiting lab result from Redemption Hospital. 

Authorities confirmed that the relatives of the patient who escorted her to the clinic are being kept in isolation. 

The potential index case patient, reportedly returned from Nzerkoure, one of the troubled spots in Guinea few days ago with high fever and running stomach and was on medication at a local clinic around the FDA Community in Paynesville for about three days before going to MEDICOVER Clinic. 

Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, Minister of Health and Social Welfare has reportedly been briefed on the matter and is said to be making efforts to bring the situation under control.

The report of the suspected case comes amid mounting calls on the George Weah-led government to close the border with Guinea and Sierra Leone, which have reported positive cases of the deadly virus over the past few days.

Liberia’s next-door Guinea, on February 14, 2021, informed the World Health Organizatio(WHO) of a cluster of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases in the sub-prefecture of Gouécké, Nzérékoré Region, Guinea between 18 January and 13 February 2021. The cases showed symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding after attending the burial of another relative (a 51 year-old nurse) on 1 February 2021.

The index case of the cluster was a nurse who had originally presented at a health centre in Gouécké on 18 January 2021 with headache, physical weakness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and fever. She was diagnosed with typhoid. She sought a second consultation at a health facility in Nzérékoré on 23 January 2021 for fever, vomiting, liquid stools, and physical weakness, and she was diagnosed with malaria. On 24 January she consulted a traditional practitioner in Nzérékoré, and she died on 28 January 2021. She was buried unsafely on 1 February in Gouécké. The other six cases are the five family members and the traditional practitioner she visited.

The Nzérékoré Region of Guinea shares borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia, where EVD outbreaks occurred previously. 

Despite some movement restrictions across official border-crossings due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a significant proportion of cross-border movement continues to take place and poses a risk of EVD spread. It is therefore essential that neighboring countries assess their preparedness capacities and implement readiness/response measures.

Among the seven cases in Guinea, five have died (4 probable and 1 confirmed). The other two confirmed cases are currently in isolation in dedicated health care facilities in Conakry and Gouécké, Nzérékoré region.

As of February 15,  Guinea has identified one hundred and ninety-two (192) contacts, including 164 contacts in N’Zérékoré Health District and 28 in Ratoma Health District, Conakry. To date, no contacts have been reported to have travelled in neighboring countries. However, Nzérékoré is the second-largest city in Guinea and lies at the intersection of roads from Ganta (in Liberia), Danané (Côte d’Ivoire), and roads to other major hubs in Guinea like Kankan and Macenta in (Guinea). Therefore, there is concern about the exportation of EVD cases into the neighboring countries.

Next-door Sierra Leone has also reported a suspected case of the virus but that result came back negative.

A statement from the Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone reported Wednesday that the case, a male, is currently at the Battalion Clinic. The patient was admitted with fever, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea but has no history of traveling outside Sierra Leone. The patient however, traveled to Freetown on January 2, 2021 and stayed to the 9th of February where he attended the 40th birthday of a friend.

Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have all activated Health Emergency Response System to level II (Enhanced Surveillance, Active Case Finding and robust Community Engagement).

Ebola is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus is suspected to be transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. It can be transmitted through human contact with body fluids of a person infected with the virus.

Major symptoms of the disease can include some of the following: fever, sometimes unexplained bleeding tendencies from nose, gums, vagina, skin or eyes, as well as vomiting and diarrhea.

The World Health Organization WHO considers the risk of spread in the country as very high given the unknown size, duration and origin of the outbreak; potentially large number of contacts; potential spread to other parts of Guinea and neighboring countries; limited response capacity currently on the ground; and unknown virus strain. In addition, there are ongoing challenges for the public health system due to the COVID-19 epidemic, and recent yellow fever and measles outbreaks.


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