Monrovia: Liberia has placed 153 people under surveillance as it seeks to control a new Ebola outbreak in the capital more than two months after the country was declared free of the virus, health officials say.
Three Ebola cases emerged in Liberia on Friday. The first of the new patients was a 15-year-old boy called Nathan Gbotoe from Paynesville, a suburb east of the capital Monrovia. Two other family members have since been confirmed as positive and they are all hospitalised.
“We have three confirmed cases and have listed 153 contacts, and we have labelled them as high, medium and low in terms of the risk,” Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Francis Kateh said on Saturday.
The west African country has suffered the highest death toll in the worst known Ebola outbreak in history, losing more than 4,800 people. It has twice been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation, once in May and again on September 3, only for new cases to emerge.
It is not known how Nathan Gbotoe was infected and Dr Kateh did not offer any explanation, saying that investigations were ongoing.
Cross-border transmission seems unlikely since neighbouring Guinea has no cases while Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free this month after 42 days without a case.
In the Duport Road neighbourhood of Paynesville, health officials went from house to house on Saturday delivering food and water to neighbours of the infected family, deemed at risk of catching the disease.
Unlike in previous months, there were no barriers or soldiers to enforce quarantines.