Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn has stressed the need to strengthen surveillance in the health system to adequately respond to any new Ebola case immediately.
Her comments followed report by the government Tuesday of the death of a 17-year-old lad, who tested positive of the Ebola Virus in Margibi County.
“Though this is not the situation we were hoping for in Liberia, but with the coming of this new case, it demonstrates the fact that our alert system is working”, she said and stressed, “it is critical that every Liberian remain vigilant and continue all the preventive measures outline by the health authorities to stop the spread of the virus in our country”.
Deputy Health and Social Welfare Minister, and head of the Incident Management System, Tolbert Nyenswah, told the VOA Tuesday, July 1 that the government hasn’t been able to establish the source of the latest infection.
Addressing reporters Tuesday, June 30th at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Capitol Hill, Dr. Dahn narrated: “On Monday, June 29 we received a report from one of our Laboratories that a sample tested positive of the Ebola virus from a 17-year-old boy, who died in Lower Margibi County as a result of illness“.
According to her, sample of the test was sent out for Ebola testing on receipt of the positive result that came out before instructing the Incident Management System team to conduct a detail investigation in the entire area.
The minister added that the victim was living along the Robertsfield highway near Smell, No Taste in Miniwen Community where he fell sick and later moved to Lower Margibi County before his death.
Minister Dahn however assured that the Incident Management System or IMS is working in collaboration with partners to coordinate with the Margibi County Health Team for contact tracing, psycho-social support, community engagement and reactivation of various ETUs in the county to ensure families receive basic food and other services.
She said the Health Ministry is not recommending closure of borders, but the process of surveillance at all entry points both land and air, adding, “The fight against the virus is not over, but we must not lose hope; and continue practicing appropriate behaviors to control the virus”.
Dr. Dahn pointed out that communities near the borders can help to protect Liberia from the Ebola virus, noting that this new case demonstrates the importance of making sure people, who died of unknown sickness, are tested or swabbed before taking them for burial.
By Lewis S. Teh