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New cases of Ebola in Liberia

November 20, 2015

Officials have reported that three new cases of Ebola were found not far from the capital of Monrovia. The discovery comes not long after the country was declared free of the disease by the World Health Organization.

Sierra Leone Ebola Holy Spirit Hospital
Image: DW/K. Gänsler

Health officials reported on Friday that three new cases of Ebola were found in Liberia. The diagnoses are a setback for the region as it struggles to end the epidemic.

The first case was discovered in a 10-year-old boy living on the outskirts of the nation's capital Monrovia. Two of his close relatives have also since tested positive, said Heath Minister Bernice Dahn.

"The hospital is currently decontaminating the unit. All of the healthcare workers who came into contact with the patient have been notified," she said at a news conference. All six of the boy's family members, along with others who had high-risk contact are being cared for at an Ebola treatment unit in Paynesville.

"We know how Ebola spreads and we know how to stop Ebola, but we must remain vigilant and work together," Dahn said. "The fight against Ebola is not over, but we can't lose hope."

Authorities are not sure how the boy contracted the disease, since he had no history of contact with an Ebola victim or survivor and none of the family members had left the Monrovia area.

Stigmatized - life after Ebola

Liberia was originally declared Ebola-free back in May, only to see a resurgence of the disease that left two people dead. The World Health Organization (WHO) then once again declared the country free of the disease on September 3.

Ongoing epidemic

The outbreak, which started in December 2013, killed roughly 11,300 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, but was thought to have been beaten for the most part.

Sierra Leone has since been declared Ebola-free, while Guinea has begun the 42-day countdown necessary to declare itself also free of the disease.

Liberia has registered more than 10,600 cases and 4,808 deaths since the beginning of the Ebola epidemic.

blc, rs/bw (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)