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3 New Ebola Cases in Liberia

2015-11-20

Three members of a family in Liberia have contracted Ebola, two months after the country was declared free of the virus, health officials said on Friday.

The first documented case in the family was a 10-year-old boy who started showing symptoms last week, said a Liberian health official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

After attending school on Monday and Tuesday, the boy was admitted to a hospital and was transported to an Ebola treatment unit on Wednesday, the official said.

The boy’s test came back positive on Thursday, as did subsequent tests for his father and a sibling, the official said, adding that at least seven health care workers may have treated him without the protective equipment essential for Ebola cases.

via Ebola Cases in 3 Family Members Confirmed in Liberia – The New York Times.

The new cases come after Liberia was again declared (temporarily) Ebola-free on September third.  Scientists are beginning to suspect that sporadic new cases can be the result of transmission from people with prior cases who had substantially recovered and carried Ebola virus in an immune-protected part of the body.   Reservoirs of virus include the testes and the semen, which is easily passed on to others.

The virus is also often carried in the chamber of the eye and has caused severe recurrences in the eye.  In addition, a woman who had completely recovered months ago fell seriously ill again recently with what was confirmed to be a recurrent systemic Ebola infection.

Over the past few months, sporadic new cases of Ebola have appeared in Liberia, including four in June, and medics have learned to respond more quickly with better techniques to reduce spread..  The population has also become less panicky.

The epidemic has killed at least eleven thousand in its epicenter, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone,  where it was most prevalent, and a slow response by international organizations is said by some to be responsible for the rapid initial spread of the virus.  Early predictions of exponential spread turned out to be exaggerated.

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