The Minister of Health and Social Welfare (MoSHW), Dr. (MD) Walter T. Gwenigale, has urged marketers in the country to be careful in handling cross-border business activities with neighboring Guinea.
Minister Gwenigale’s warning comes in the wake of the deadly Ebola virus taking a toll on Guineans and as this virus has now spread across the border into Liberia. His warning was also geared toward minimizing the outbreak of the virus in Liberia.
At least 60 out of 80 persons are now confirmed dead in neighboring Guinea, after coming in contact with Ebola virus in the southern forest regions of Gueckedou and Macenta, close to the Liberian border.
Speaking at a news conference Monday, March 24, at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism on Capitol Hill in Monrovia, Dr. Gwenigale said it was important for marketers and those living in close bordering towns within Liberia not to go into Guinea when it is not absolutely necessary. He also he urged people to wash their hands frequently, as many times as possible, and avoid handshakes and bodily contact with infected persons — the means by which the virus can spread from person to person.
Dr. Gwenigale, along with Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Bernice Dahn, disclosed that a team of medical petitioners had already been sent to bordering Liberian towns in order to trace and investigate the situation. They also said the team is sensitizing other local health authorities and residents in the areas on prevention of the disease.
According to the two medical doctors, Ebola’s symptoms include vomiting, fever, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, muscle pain, etc.
Both health authorities pleaded with family members of anyone showing one of more of these symptoms to do as much as possible to avoid handling the patient, but to immediately contact the health facility nearby.
The Health Minister said: “We have taken initial measures to protect everyone and also the health workers by providing them [health workers] hand gloves, goggles and masks, which will help to make it easier for the health team to carry on their investigation.”
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Gwenigale said, is concerned of the on-going situation and has given her full support to the Health Ministry and its partners’ actions as they work to contain the virus.
He revealed that five of six affected persons, who crossed into Liberia have died, and the sixth was being treated at a medical facility in Zorzor, Lofa County.
“Two went back and died in Guinea while the three died in Liberia and their remains were properly disposed of,” they said.
The Health Minister and his deputy re-emphasized that the public should do everyting to avoid spreading the virus.