Heritage (Monrovia)

26 March 2014

Liberia: Ebola Virus Will Cause a National Disaster in Liberia If...

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.

Lofa County Foya District # 1 Representative, Eugene Fallah Kparkar, has cautiously warned that the Ebola Virus will cause a national disaster in the country if preventive measures are not taken by the Government of Liberia (GoL) to curtail the deadly disease.

Ebola virus is an aggressive pathogen that causes a highly lethal hemorrhagic fever syndrome in humans and nonhuman primates. It was first recognized near the Ebola River valley during an outbreak in Zaire in 1976.

Outbreaks have occurred in Africa in the ensuing 27 years, with mortality rates ranging from 50 to 90% . Outbreaks have also been identified yearly for the past 3 years in central Africa, the most recent of which continues in the Republic of the Congo, with more than 125 fatalities to date according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The natural host for Ebola virus is unknown, so it has not been possible to implement programs to control or eliminate viral reservoirs of transmission to human populations.

The rapid progression of Ebola virus infection has further complicated the control of this disease, affording little opportunity to develop acquired immunity. There is currently no antiviral therapy or vaccine that is effective against Ebola virus infection in humans.

According to Rep. Kparkar, the virus has the "propensity of wreaking havoc" on impoverished Liberians, and therefore, practical and collective actions must be taken by the government to combat the disease.

He further warned that a national disaster will befall Liberians if it (Ebola Virus) is not taken seriously.

His comments were contained in a communication addressed to the Plenary of the House of Representatives. In his communication, he called on that august body to mandate its committee on Health and Social Welfare to "hasten with the necessary preventive and remedial measures to keep the citizens of Liberia, particularly Lofa County, healthy against the deadly Ebola Virus.

Plenary is the highest decision making body of the House of Representatives.

The Lofa lawmaker's communication was read on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 during the 20th day sitting of the Third Session of the lower house.

He pointed out that the disease, which has reportedly begun to rage hell in neighboring Guinea, could have a "spillover effect in neighboring countries" once the necessary preventive measures are not taken urgently.

He disclosed that two persons diagnosed of contracting the virus have died in Foya, Lofa County.

"I feel profoundly honored to express my sentiments of high esteem and also to express with utter dismay the alarming rate at which the deadly Ebola Virus has begun to rage hell in Guinea.

Upon visiting the border city of Foya which is my constituency, I was informed that two persons who were likely diagnosed of the virus suddenly passed out. I am lifting this issue because if not taken seriously, a national disaster could befall our citizens," Rep. Kparkar mentioned.

In an interview with legislative reporters, the Foya district lawmaker averred that the confirmation of the Ebola Virus in Liberia was made by a Congolese doctor who is currently in Lofa County.

Rep. Kparkar said the outbreak of the virus is also a "national emergency that needs to be treated with urgency."

He said an "emergency funding" must be provided to combat against the deadly disease.

He maintained that more need to be done in terms of protecting the border points of Liberia because the virus has no cure.

Meanwhile, Rep. Kparkar has called for those affected with the virus in Liberia to be "isolated" from those that are not affected, in order to curtail the spread of Ebola in the country.

He added that health workers also need to be "protected very seriously like they are going on the moon."

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