Liberian health ministry officials say a woman, the country’s first Ebola patient in more than a month, has been quarantined and stabilized and is responding to “supportive” treatment.
Local media reported that the woman, identified as Ruth Tugbeh, was in contact with many people, including those at two schools Monrovia, where she sold cooked food to both the students and teachers.
One report suggested she might have become infected from her boyfriend, who is an Ebola survivor.
Tolbert Nyenswah, assistant Minister of Health for Preventive Services, said authorities are following up on the woman’s previous contacts.
“The lady from Monrovia Section 2, the Caldwell area, has been confirmed as having the Ebola virus disease. And, right now, she’s in the Monrovia Medical Unit which is operated jointly by the Ministry of Health and U.S. Public Health Service. She’s stabilized and responding to ‘supportive treatment’ by our medical health care workers,” he said.
Nyenswah said health authorities are still investigating how the woman got infected with the Ebola virus.
“We are investigating how this might have happened. We will not leave any stone unturned. So, whether or not it came from a survivor, we are investigating. Once we get the facts, we are going to put them out there,” Nyenswah said.
He said the woman has told officials she did not travel to either Guinea or Sierra Leone, where active transmission of the Ebola virus has been taking place.
“So, our concern is to investigate the possibilities of where this woman could have been infected,” he said.
Nyenswah said Liberia was looking forward to April 13, the day the World Health Organization had set to declare Liberia Ebola-free. But he urged Liberians not to be disappointed.
“This is the nature of the outbreak that we are dealing with. We knew that we were not off the hook yet. This is challenging us to do more. It’s good that it came out because we informed the Liberian people to be vigilant and do away with complacency. And so, we are not disappointed. We are tracing all of the contacts, and we are in good spirits,” Nyenswah said.