Assistant Health Minister for Preventive Services and head of the Incident Management System (IMS), Mr. Tolbert G. Nyenswah, last night told the Daily Observer that there is a “very likely confirmed case” of the deadly Ebola virus disease in Liberia.
He told our Health Correspondent that a 17-year-old male, who passed away on Saturday, June 27 and was safely buried by the Ebola burial team, had presented symptoms of the virus.
He stated that two tests conducted so far had proven the existence of the virus but that a third test was waiting to be done in order to corroborate and validate the results of the first two tests.
Asked about any history of the 17 year-old, he stated: “This report is preliminary. We have just begun to act two hours ago. We are investigating what may have happened after so long since the country was declared free of Ebola transmission.”
He assured the public that there was no cause to worry as the nation’s response team has been swift to react to the news.
“Right now as I speak to you, a team of Epidemiologists from the Ministry of Health (MOH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are now on the ground in Nedowein Town asking questions.”
The town is located just off the Robertsfield Highway, in the Mamba-Kaba district, Margibi County. Mr. Nyenswah said that “immediately,” they reactivated the Ebola treatment unit (ETU) and the Ebola team in that county.
If the third test corroborates the first two, then it would have been 49 days since the nation was declared Ebola transmission free by the WHO.
Liberia’s last known Ebola case was 44-year-old woman, who had been treated at the Monrovia ETU, which was built and operated by the US Army. Ruth Tugbeh died few days after she contracted the virus. Initial suspicion was that she may have contracted the virus through sexual intercourse with a survivor.
The country released its last known Ebola survivor on March 5, 2015.