News / Health

Liberia Works to Contain New Ebola Outbreak Amid Renewed Fear

Jennifer Lazuta
— Health officials in Liberia's capital say that at least seven more people are believed to have died from the Ebola virus.  These are the first reported deaths in Monrovia and the first new cases in the country in more than two months.  The deaths have sparked fear the outbreak is no longer under control as authorities previously said. 

Liberia’s Ministry of Health says the deadly Ebola virus has again made its way to the country.

Local officials say that seven people living in Monrovia have died from Ebola during the past several days, including a nurse and an infant child.  Two of those cases have been confirmed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says there have also been six new suspected cases in the Foya district, in the north of the country.

These are the first reported cases of Ebola in Liberia since early April.

Looking for causes

The assistant minister for preventive services at the health ministry, Tolbert Nyensuah, explained the likely cause of the outbreak.

“The case that spread this disease to the rest of the people in Monrovia, that case was supposedly from Sierra Leone," he said.  "There was a lady that came from Sierra Leone, through Foya, and got ill in Monrovia.  Our surveillance team picked up this information, that people in a household were dying suddenly with unexplained deaths.”

The Ebola outbreak, which began in Guinea in February, made its way to neighboring Sierra Leone last month.

The WHO said Wednesday that 337 people across West Africa have died of the disease, including 24 in Liberia, 49 in Sierra Leone, and 264 in Guinea.

Monrovian resident, Leviticus Kollie, says these new cases in Liberia are worrying.

“A few weeks ago, a few months ago, we were told that Ebola was no longer around.  Coming back for the second time, it [scares] everyone… We are hoping that that the Ministry of Health will do all it can to put the situation under control.  I’m not prepared to die now. I’m not ready, I don’t want to die,” said Kollie.

National task force

To help contain the current outbreak, Liberia’s Ministry of Health says they have reactivated the national task force for Ebola and are holding daily meetings with partner organizations, such as the Liberian National Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to design strategies to deal with the resurgence.

More than 60 volunteers were also trained this week to act as surveillance teams in local communities. The country’s isolation unit has been reopened to deal with any suspected Ebola cases.

The Ministry’s Nyensuah said the most important thing now is for people to stay calm.

“The epidemiology of this disease is that it is not an airborne disease.  It is a disease that occurs with very, very close contact," he said. "Contact with family members who are ill; contact with health care workers.  And so there is no reason for the public to be panicked.”

Nyensuah said Liberians should, however, avoid all contact with anyone who is suspected of having contracted Ebola, as the virus is spread via bodily fluids, such as the sweat, blood and saliva, of an infected person - living or dead. 

Prince Collins contributed to this report from Monrovia.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid