Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ebola resurfaces in Liberia

As we discussed in class, Liberia became the latest country to approach "Ebola-free" status, with its last reported case before this week happening on March 5th.  To be declared "Ebola-free" officially, countries must wait 42 days after the last infected patient tests negative for Ebola.  Such a move would be huge for the country, which has seen it struggle to fight the epidemic since last winter.   However, a new report has determined that Ebola has actually resurfaced in the country, with one patient testing positive for Ebola in Monrovia.

Such an incident is not surprising, as the virus could have been present in the population but not apparent since its incubation period can theoretically last a little more than three weeks.  Furthermore, monitoring and surveillance for Ebola is not perfect, and the possibility that someone was infected in the interim period is possible as well.  Finally, there is also the possibility that the infected individual came from a different country, indicating that the virus came to the country exogenously, rather than endogenously.  At the time of reporting, it is unclear where the infected individual originated from.

The resurfacing of Ebola in Liberia highlights the importance of staying alert and aware of Ebola's deadly potential even in the midst of a weakening Ebola epidemic.  After all, the West African Ebola outbreak has already resulted in the deaths of over 10,000 people, and 24,000 additional infections.  

--Andrew Duong

No comments: