Authorities at the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday reported that results of the initial tests conducted by investigators on specimen from the seven persons that died on Tuesday in Greenville, Sinoe County, ruled out Ebola virus disease (EVD) as the cause of the deaths.
The tests were conducted at the Liberia Institute for Biomedical Research (LIBR) in Charlesville, Lower Margibi County.
“Of the 17 persons who have fallen ill so far as of Tuesday, April 25, nine have died, while eight patients are currently admitted and are undergoing treatment at the Francis J. Grant Hospital in Greenville,” the MoH said.
According to the ministry, investigation is ongoing to establish the actual cause of the deaths.
The County Health Team and the local authorities are currently coordinating the response activities and the ministry has dispatched a team from the central level to provide additional support, the ministry said.
The ministry meanwhile assured the general public that it has put in place all the necessary systems, measures, and capacities to handle any outbreak of infectious diseases.
On April 25 at 10:30 a.m., the Sinoe County Health Team informed the ministry about a series of unexplained deaths in five communities in Greenville District.
On Tuesday, the FJ Grant Hospital reported seven deaths that were later linked to a death that occurred on Sunday, April 23, of an 11 year-old female from Teah Town Community, Greenille. The child had, on the same day, shown symptoms of diarrhea.
The child, according to eyewitnesses, was taken to the Grant Hospital, but died within an hour of being admitted in the emergency room.
The child, according to other accounts, had attended the funeral of a religious leader (not named) on Saturday, April 22 in Greenville. The religious leader was diagnosed with high blood pressure at the JFK Medical Center in Monrovia.
Prior to her death, the child presented signs and symptoms that included weakness, and abdominal pains associated with vomiting accompanied by diarrhea.
One other account recalled how on Monday, April 24, another patient from Down Town Community (Greenville), who also attended the funeral of the same religious leader, was overtaken by headaches, body pain and skin itching, and was admitted at the FJ Grant Hospital. The patient expired early Tuesday, April 25 by 2 a.m.
A third patient, a lady who also attended the same funeral, arrived at the hospital in the morning with diarrhea and vomiting. She also died, upon arrival at the hospital.
Meanwhile, as of 11 a.m. on April 25, eight deaths and six cases were reported from the FJ Hospital.
In the wake of the development, Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis Nah Kateh has called on the public not to panic as the ministry is working in collaboration with partners to contain the situation.