Ebola Back in Liberia? What We Know So Far.

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Redemption Hospital, New Kru Town

Just days following reports of confirmed cases of the deadly Ebola virus disease having resurfaced in the neighboring Republic of Guinea, barely three hours’ drive north of the Liberian border from Ganta, Nimba County, reports in possession of the Daily Observer say an Ebola suspected carrier from that neighboring is undergoing rigorous rests at the Redemption Hospital in the Borough of New Kru Town, Monrovia.

The woman, only identified yet as Fatumata, is said to have returned from Nzérékoré, Guinea, where there are reported cases of the virus disease. She is believed to have entered Liberia through the border at Ganta (closest to Nzérékoré), before embarking for Monrovia.

Dr. Mohammed Swaray, the proprietor of the Swaray and Medicover clinics at the ELWA Junction and Soul Clinic Community respectively, told the Daily Observer that Fatumata arrived late yesterday evening (February 18, 2021) at his medical facility in the Soul Clinic for treatment but, due to the signs and symptoms she showed, she could not be treated at the facility.

Rather, she was referred to the government’s health system for proper screening. Dr. Swaray said he called the Ministry of Health and they were prompt in bringing an ambulance that conveyed the lady to Redemption Hospital.

Located in the densely populated borough of New Kru Town, Redemption is the only health facility in Monrovia that has standard containment facilities for infectious diseases. The facility was added in 2015 as a means to contain Ebola and other potential virus outbreaks. Two other facilities like it are positioned in strategic locations around the country.

“We are waiting for the outcome from Redemption, but the signs and symptoms we saw informed us that Fatumata might be Ebola positive, if not COVID-19 positive. Thank God, I was at the clinic when she arrived for the check-up. I was swift in discouraging my workers from touching her due to the severity she displayed in her ailment posture,” Dr. Swaray said.

He pointed out that out of sincerity and care for his family and the people of Liberia, he and his team have gone into self-isolation from other staff and patients who came in later for medical care.

“I am still here at the clinic in self-isolation, even though I did not treat her. There is a need to take serious precautions. My staff is also doing the same, even though they did not touch her,” he said.

Swaray added, “I am unable to give you her full name because we did not register her in our records due to the way we saw her. That is to inform you that we did not treat her at all but, with all considered, we are still making sure that we observe ourselves for a while before going back home or resuming work.”

While Dr. Swaray and his staff have decided to isolate themselves in order prevent the spread of the virus, a spokesperson at the Ministry of Health have told the Daily Observer that Fatumata tested negative for Ebola.

Joseph Wiah, Communications Director at the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), could neither deny nor confirm the case of Ebola in the country, but said there is an Incident Management Team meeting ongoing in order to engage the public with the details.

“Health authorities are having an emergency meeting as I speak to you, and at the end of the day, we will come up with a position statement,” Wiah said.

Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in 2014 were struck by the Ebola virus, which claimed over ten thousand lives, shattered, the economies of the three countries and impoverished huge segments of their populations.

After two years of intense fight against the deadly virus disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the countries free in 2016.

After four years of the hazardous experience, another virus, known as Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), had an outbreak in Wuhan, China, and has spread across the world with the three Ebola experienced countries of no exception.

At present, Liberia has reported 1985 cases; among which 1,794 recoveries are recorded with 85 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health’s latest COVID-19 situation report.

Globally, there are 110 million COVID-19 cases reported with 2.43 million deaths while 61.9 million have so far recovered, according to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 statistics.

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