FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

Liberia Declares Ebola Outbreak a National Emergency

Photo: Boakai M. Fofana/AllAfrica
A sign at the fruit section of a grocery store urging customers to wear gloves, as Liberians worry about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Senator Peter Coleman, chairman senate health committee explaining to his colleagues about the effect of the Disease

Monrovia - News about the possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia has been greeted with a great deal of seriousness by the National Legislature with both the Senate and the House of Representatives mandating their Health Committees to closely work with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in tackling the disease.

On Tuesday during their separate regular sessions, the issue of the outbreak of the disease was discussed with consensus for collaborative efforts with the Executive Branch of government through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in tackling the spread of the disease. Senator Peter Coleman of Grand Kru County who once served as Minister of Health of Liberia told his colleagues to take seriously the current news of the spread of the virus in Liberia by making interventions in the best interest of the population.

Senator Coleman also stressed isolation and confinement of affected persons as some of the surest ways of preventing the virus from spreading to others and the need to make a national decision in terms of the provision of funding to the national emergency efforts. Also at the House of Representatives, a communication from Representative Eugene Fallah Kparkar (CDC, Foyah District), Lofa county where there are suspected cases of the disease was read in plenary.

In the letter, Representative Kaprkar requested plenary to mandate the health committee to work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to hasten the necessary preventive and remedial measures to protect Liberians against the deadly Ebola disease.

The Lofa lawmaker stressed the need for an urgent effort to stop the spread of the deadly disease which has the propensity of wreaking havoc on impoverished Liberians. He referenced his visit in the border City of Foyah, Lofa County, his constituency and said; he was informed that two persons who were likely diagnosed with the virus have suddenly passed out.

Representative Kparkar said:" I feel profoundly honor to express my sentiment of the highest esteem and also wish to express with utter dismay the alarming rate at which the deadly Ebola virus has begun to rage hell in Guinea. There is no doubt that this disease if not acted upon will have a spillover effect in neighboring countries."

On Monday the Health Ministry and Social Welfare announced to the public that the deadly Ebola virus that has killed more than fifty people in neighboring Guinea has been reported in the districts in Liberia. The disclosure was made by Liberia's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bernice Dahn.

"The disease is reported to be spreading along the border with Liberia, specifically in the communities and towns close to Guinea towns of Guekedou, Nzerekore, Kissidougou and Macenta," Liberia Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bernice Dahn said.

Dr. Dahn continued:"As of this morning the 24th of March 2014, six cases have been reported of which five persons have already died, four female adults and one male child." Dr. Dahn said all the six suspected cases came from Guinea for treatment in hospitals in Foya and Zorzor districts in Lofa County."One of the suspected cases, a female child is under treatment."

The Ebola virus is often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, Muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

The Ebola virus can cause severe viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) outbreaks in humans with a case fatality rate of up to 90%. According to a statement from the Ministry of Health a team has been dispatched since Friday to investigate the situation in Lofa.

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