9 April 2014

Liberia: 12 Ebola Deaths Reported

World Health Organization (WHO) Country Director says 22 suspected cases of the Ebola virus have been reported in Liberia with at least 12 deaths.

Dr. Nester Ndayimirije said the Ebola virus has already affected three countries in the region including Guinea with 157 cases and 101 deaths, Liberia with 22 suspected cases with 12 deaths and there are reports about suspected cases in Sierra Leone and Ghana.

Dr. Ndayimirije said fighting fear, panic and denial amongst the people were critical to the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia and other parts of the region.

"The first problem we faced in most countries before coming here (Liberia) is to fight fear, panic and denial... " Dr. Ndayimirije said Wednesday during the regular National Taskforce on Ebola virus regular meeting at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

The WHO boss said because the Ebola virus can only be prevented and not cured, when these critical issues are tickled amongst the people, the remaining prevention messages can become easier.

He said WHO remains committed to providing full support to countries, including Liberia that is being affected by the virus.

The WHO Country Director encouraged the Government of Liberia to take advantage of every opportunity aimed at galvanizing resources to address the situation.

He said African Ministers have already established an emergency fund known as the African Public Health Emergency Fund to deal with public health situations on the continent.

Dr. Ndayimirije lauded the Liberian government for the timely response to the fight against the deadly Ebola virus since it was reported in Liberia.

Also speaking, United States Ambassador to Liberia Deborah Malac encouraged Liberians to go about their normal businesses as the situation is being effectively tackled by the government and partners.

Ambassador Malac said the US Government remains committed to supporting every effort aimed at dealing with the Ebola virus in Liberia and parts of the region.

She said the US Embassy in Liberia is carrying out normal business and diplomatic activities, urging other embassies and institutions in the country to do the same in order to avoid creating fear amongst the people.

Ebola is spread by close contact and kills between 25% and 90% of victims. Symptoms include internal and external bleeding, diarrhea and vomiting.

Outbreaks of Ebola occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests, the World Health Organization says.

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