The New Dawn (Monrovia)

3 April 2014

Liberia: 13 Nurses Quarantined in Lofa

At least about thirteen nurses at the Foyah Borma Hospital in Foyah District and Telewoyon Hospital, Vionjama, all in Lofa County have been quarantined.

The nurses, one of which is said to be showing symptom of the deadly Ebola virus that have spread across from neighboring Guinea here, all at one point came in contact with the two sisters, one already deceased, at the two hospitals.

The nurse whose symptom has become very visible is said to be isolated from the rest who are closely being monitored, sources at the two hospitals told this paper Tuesday.

The two sisters, one of whom had returned from Guinea to Foyah, a district in the northern Liberian town of Lofa and the other already quarantined at the Firestone Hospital were the only known officially reported Ebola cases here so far.

The affected nurses were involved in the treatment of the sisters. Liberia's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bernice Dahn is reported to have confirmed the confinement of the nurses in Lofa in an interview on a local FM station Wednesday.

The confinement of the 13 nurses which has sparked fears amongst other health workers in Lofa comes amidst the arrival of personal suit for health workers on Wednesday.

The suits which were brought in from Guinea as an emergency package with experts from the French MSF based in Guinea, is ahead of a special flight expected here today with huge consignments of personal body suits for health workers.

Health officials told this paper Wednesday night that the special flights has on it two officials from the US Center for Disease Control or CDC to help monitor and track the virus. The two CDC officials will be embedded at the Ministry of Health.

The arrival of the additional health workers and equipment to help in combating the virus has witnessed a concerted effort and collaboration between the agencies of government so far, at least as far as immediate tax waivers and the issuance of visas for the experts are concerned.

Meanwhile, it is also being reported that health workers from the Kolahun Hospital in Kolahun District, Foyah Borma Hospital in Foyah and the Telewoyon Hospital in Voinjama are refusing to touch patients that are reporting with fever, diarrheal and body ache, fearing that they might be Ebola affected patients.

Nurses and other health workers in the county are calling on government to provide protective materials to prevent them (nurses) from directly coming in contact with the virus. It is also reported that residents of Lofa and Nimba Counties are now taking preventive measures to avoid contracting the virus.

Residents of Foyah are said to be preventing their relatives and children from going to Guinea where the virus originated. Citizens are also said to be restricting their hospitality toward people. The Government of Liberia on Monday announced a number of measures to curtail the spread of the deadly Ebola virus outlining several preventive measures, a day after it confirmed the first two cases of the virus here.

Among the preventive measures are avoiding direct contacts with body fluids of infected persons, which include having sex with suspected persons, not eating dead bush animals and being very careful in handling fresh bush meat. Others include avoiding bathing dead bodies of suspected patients, eating plums/mangoes and other fruits partially eaten by bats, avoid eating monkeys, bats, and bamboos.

"The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare wishes to confirm that two out of the seven samples sent for laboratory analysis of the Ebola Virus in Liberia are positive, indicating that Liberia now has an outbreak of the virus," the ministry said in a statement issued Monday.

As part of the measures health officials here established hotlines for the public to call and get basic information about the disease. The hotline numbers are 0770198517, 0777549805, 0886530260, and 0886549805.

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