Ebola Claims another Victim

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The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoH&SW) has disclosed that the remaining sister who provided one of the two blood samples that were tested positive out of seven sent to Lyon, France for laboratory testing, has died.

On Sunday, March 30, Health and Social Welfare Minister, Dr. (MD) Walter Traub Gwenigale told the Daily Observer the Ebola virus was in the country and had claimed a life, which was the sister of the lady, who passed late Wednesday evening.

“On April 3, the second lady whose case was confirmed died at Firestone; bringing the death toll to seven. This includes the two [Ebola] confirmed cases and five probable cases. Since March 24, 14 suspected cases of the Ebola Virus Disease have been reported, pending laboratory confirmation,” the Health Ministry said in its daily updates on the situation. 

The lady, who died in Harbel, Firestone, might have contracted the virus from her sister, who she (the Firestone deceased) looked after when she was sick.

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that the virus has a case fatality rate of 90 percent: meaning that out of every 10 persons, who contract the virus, nine die.

Providing an update at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) regular Thursday press briefing, Health Minister Gwenigale said the other lady (name not mentioned) had succumbed to the Ebola virus.

The latest victim, according to the Health Ministry’s authorities, reportedly traveled from Foya in Lofa County to Chicken Soup Factory in Monrovia and then to Harbel in Firestone before she was quarantined. They disclosed that the deceased travelled with her daughter, who it is now assumed contracted the virus from her mother after coming down with its symptoms.

According to Minister Gwenigale, his worries are now centered on the surviving daughter (identity withheld) and others the deceased might have possibly come in contact with while traveling from Lofa to Monrovia and then to Firestone.

This opens a possibility that some of the people she interacted with on her way and since her arrival in Firestone have also become infected.

The health boss indicated that casualties of suspected Ebola cases in the country have now reached seven, including another woman who was quarantined in Foya, but was taken away by relatives to an unidentified pastor for delivery prayers.

He said another 25-year-old young man, who was suspected of contracting the virus has also died in Tappita, Nimba County, though he said that health practitioners are still investigating his death to ascertain the truth as to if it is Ebola related.

“Also under investigation is the death of a Bassa man in Grand Gedeh, who was suspected of having the virus. We have to take this thing very seriously. It saddens me that people are saying that we are only looking for money to enrich ourselves,” he lamented.

Minister Gwenigale also disclosed at the press conference that experts have begun to arrive in the country to help his team battle the deadly Ebola virus.

He said two medical experts from medical organization Medicin San Frontier (MSF) arrived in the country Wednesday, April 2, to help his team battle the virus.

“They will be helping medical practitioners prevent themselves from contracting the virus while at the same time attending to patients,” Min. Gwenigale said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gwenigale disclosed that the Health Ministry has received US$250,000 from the Ministry of Finance to begin the exercise of containing the virus.

The Ministry has budgeted US$1.2 million for its fight against the virus; but to date only US$300,000 from the GOL plus a US$10,000 from the Mano River Union Secretariat in Monrovia, has come in so far.

Dr. Gwenigale again urged everyone within Liberia’s borders to adhere to these preventive actions such as do not eat animals that are found dead in the bush, and avoid contacts with fruit bats, monkeys, chimpanzees, antelopes and porcupines. Limit as much as possible, direct contact with body fluids of infected persons or dead persons. Wash your hands with soap and water as frequently as possible. Treat your water with chlorine before drinking. The Ministry’s hotline numbers including 0770198517, 0777549805, 0886530260 and 0886549805 are still active for people to call and report any suspected Ebola case(s).

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