New Ebola death in Liberia, hundreds vaccinated in Guinea

The Ebola virus has resurfaced in Liberia, where a 30-year-old woman has died of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities said Friday.

The case marks Liberia’s third flare-up of Ebola since its original outbreak was declared over in May 2015.

The woman died Thursday while being transferred to a hospital in the capital Monrovia, according to WHO.

“We are still investigating where this lady came from,” Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah told dpa.

WHO said that the woman had lived in a community outside Monrovia and that investigators had been sent there and to the clinic where she was treated.

Liberian health authorities convened an emergency meeting to plan a rapid response, according to the UN organization.

Nyenswah said Liberia had the capacity and was doing everything possible to contain the outbreak.

The most recent flare-up of Ebola in Liberia began in November 2015 and ended on January 14.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Guinea, nearly 800 people who may have been in contact with eight individuals infected with the Ebola virus were vaccinated in the south of the country, according to WHO.

The experimental vaccine, which was given to people over the past week, was found to be effective in preventing Ebola infection in a trial in Guinea, and has also been used in Sierra Leone, WHO said.

The so-called ring vaccination strategy is two-tiered, with vaccinations given not only to people who have come into contact with others suffering from Ebola, but also to those people's friends and family.

Guinea was declared free of Ebola in late December, but eight cases have been reported since late February, with at least seven of the patients having died.

WHO nevertheless said this week that Ebola was under control in West Africa and no longer constituted a global health emergency, after it killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The three countries “now have the detection and response capacities in place to effectively manage ongoing flare-ups of Ebola,” the UN organization said Friday.

“Additional flare-ups of the disease are expected in the months to come, largely due to virus persistence in some survivors, and ... the three countries must remain on high alert and ready to respond,” it added.

Last update: Fri, 01/04/2016 - 17:55
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