No Longer Ebola-Free: Liberia Reports New Case

Ebola in young boy breaks Liberia's Ebola-free streak


Although the country was declared Ebola-free Sept. 3, Liberia has reported a new case.

The virus has infected a 10-year-old boy, reports Reuters. The boy and the six members of his family are currently at an Ebola treatment center in Paynesville.

"The hospital is currently decontaminating the unit," said Bernice Dahn, Liberia's minister of health, in an interview with Reuters. "All of the healthcare workers who came in contact with the patient have been notified."

Liberia and its West African neighbors Guinea and Sierra Leone have felt the brunt of what is now the largest Ebola outbreak in history. Liberia alone has reported over 10,600 cases and nearly 5,000 deaths during the outbreak, which has lasted for more than a year, reports The Guardian.

But at the beginning of September, the World Health Organization declared Liberia free of Ebola, following a false start in May, reports The New York Times. After the May declaration, four more cases surfaced.

Currently, Sierra Leone has been declared Ebola-free, and Guinea is in the 42-day countdown since its last known Ebola patient recovered, after which the country can be declared Ebola-free. The countdown is 42 days because it is twice the 21-day incubation period for the Ebola virus, meaning that anyone exposed to the virus would develop symptoms within 21 days.

Ebola is an often-deadly disease marked by high fever, nausea, vomiting and unexplained bleeding.

Liberian health officials said they are monitoring the young boy and his potential contacts closely, Reuters reports.

"We know how Ebola spreads and we know to stop Ebola but we must remain vigilant and work together," Dahn told Reuters.