28 January 2019

Liberia: No Ebola Case in Liberia

Photo: S.Oka/World Health Organisation
WHO team in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of the Congo (file photo).

... Health Authorities Allay Fear

Amidst fear about the discovery of the Zaire Ebola Virus in Liberia which was announced recently, Liberian health authorities have clarified that there is no known case of the virus.

Addressing the regular press briefing of the Ministry of Information in Monrovia last Thursday, the Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) disclosed that the Zaire Ebola Virus has been discovered in Liberia.

Tolbert Nyenswah said the Zaire Ebola virus was found in a cave-dwelling insect-eating bat, a greater long-fingered bat in Sanniquellie-Mahn Health District in Nimba County.

Since this pronouncement, there have been mounting fears that the virus that killed more than 4,000 Liberians during the outbreak in 2014 is back.

However, Liberian health authorities and partners said there is no Ebola case in Liberia as a result of the discovery of the Zaire Ebola virus in the bat.

According to health authorities, in 2016, samples of more than 5000 bats from the 15 counties of Liberia were taken abroad for testing.

This, health authorities said, was intended to find out or trace the 2014 outbreak of the virus in the region.

During the testing, one of the 5000 bats dwelling in a cave was found to be carrier of the Zaire Ebola virus.

Health authorities said since the discovery, no one in Liberia has come down with the virus.

However, they advised people to stay away from coming in contact with bats especially the ones that are in caves.

Meanwhile, Nyenswah said in accordance with its mandate to prevent and control public health threats and events, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia over the last 365 days has made remarkable achievements that guarantee public health safety.

"We can proudly say that Liberia is 10 times safer now than pre-Ebola in preventing and detecting diseases.

We now have huge capacity to test various diseases: EVD, Lassa fever, Meningitis, yellow fever, cholera, measles, Rubella, Acute Watery Diarrhea, Etc., and don't have to transport samples to other countries for testing anymore.

Our surveillance system is effective in all 73 districts of the 15 counties in Liberia and has the capacity to detect epidemic prone diseases rapidly.

Thus, we have kept Liberia safe for the past three years since 2016, and there has been no known case of Ebola in Liberia. We are still Ebola Free," he maintained.

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