West Africa heightens guard amid fresh Ebola outbreak


West African countries have beefed up emergency measures at borders as new cases of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) flared up despite the end of a major epidemic.

In a most recent development, the Liberian government and the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed a new Ebola case traced to a 30-year-old woman.

The woman died as she was being taken to a hospital in the capital Monrovia on Thursday evening (31 March), said statements from Liberia’s Health Ministry and the WHO.

This latest case marks Liberia’s third flare-up of EVD since its original outbreak was declared over on 9 May 2015.

The last flare-up in the country began in November 2015 and ended 14 January 2016. Neighbouring Guinea is also responding to a new cluster of Ebola cases in its southern prefecture of Nzerekore, says the WHO.

The recent resurgence of Ebola in a rural Guinean community has killed seven people so far. Subsequently, some of Guinea’s West African neighbours responded immediately by closing borders or raising alert levels.

Guinea Bissau health authorities have raised alert and surveillance levels along the border following the reappearance of new Ebola cases in neighbouring Guinea.

Gambia has strengthened Ebola surveillance at the main entrances of the country, including sea ports, airports and borders after new deaths from Ebola virus were recorded in Guinea.

Following the new flare-up in Guinea, the Liberian government also closed its border with Guinea to prevent a potential spread of the virus into its own territory.

It remains unclear whether the latest case in Liberia was linked to the ones in Guinea.

Liberia was one of three countries in the West African sub-region worst hit by the outbreak with 4800 deaths.

Meanwhile, WHO and the Liberian government have urged the public not to panic as the recent outbreak of the EVD can be contained.

The Liberian Ministry of Health has called on citizens not to panic in the wake of the new Ebola case.

WHO has declared that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa no longer represents a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

WHO said Guinea, Liberia and Sierra now have the detection and response capacities in place to effectively manage ongoing flare-ups of Ebola, pointing to the swift response and rapid containment of recent small outbreaks.

But WHO reiterated that additional flare-ups of the disease are expected in the months to come, largely due to virus persistence in some survivors, and that the three countries must remain on high alert and ready to respond.

This story was sourced from the New China website.


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