Ebola Outbreak Returns to Liberia

Posted on July 1, 2015

There are at least two new cases of Ebola in Liberia. The country was declared free of the virus on May 9th after going 42 days without a new case. However, its neighboring countries, Sierra Leone and Guinea, have continued to have new cases, although at a slower pace than during the outbreak's peak. As long as cases continued to simmer in Sierra Leone and Guinea there was always a chance Ebola would return to Liberia.

The first new case was announced earlier this week. NRP reports that a 17-year-old boy died from Ebola in Nedowein, a village located near the country's international airport. It was not the type of case you would expect. The town is not located near Liberia's borders with Guinea or Sierra Leone. It was not known the boy had Ebola until after he died so it willbe more difficult for contact tracers to find out who he came in contact with.

Liberia has advised people to "go about their business as normal." Some people have been quarantined but Liberia has not revealed the number.

A second new case was just announced today. Details about this case have not been revealed and it is not yet known if it is connected to the death of the boy. A Reuters report quotes Dr. Moses Massaquoi, the team leader of Liberia's Ebola task force, as saying testing is underway to see if there are more cases.

Total cases for the ongoing outbreak in West Africa have reached over 27,500 with over 11,200 deaths. Sierra Leone has the most cases with over 13,000. These numbers are thought by both the WHO and CDC to be less than the actual total number of cases. A Wikipedia entry about the outbreak has been providing updated case totals since the outbreak began in December 2013. It is by far the largest Ebola outbreak in modern history. The Washington Post reports that one professor thinks Ebola may have been the culprit in a deadly plague in ancient Greece over 2,400 years ago.

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