The Liberian media generally shut down for the weekend, as does the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare, but The New York Times has a report with much new detail: Ebola Cases in 3 Family Members Confirmed in Liberia. Note that two new suspected cases, evidently unrelated to the family, were admitted to hospital on Friday. Excerpt:
Three members of a family in Liberia have contracted Ebola, two months after the country was declared free of the virus for the second time, health officials said on Friday.
The most recent outbreak, which officials are calling the fourth wave, was confirmed after a 15-year-old boy with symptoms of Ebola — including fever, weakness and bleeding — was admitted to John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia, the capital, on Tuesday, the Liberian health minister, Dr. Bernice Dahn, said at a news conference. The boy was then placed in isolation in the hospital.
Another senior health official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record, said the teenager was taken to the main Ebola treatment unit on Wednesday. He had started showing symptoms of Ebola last week, the official said.
The teenager’s test came back positive on Thursday, as did tests on Friday for his father and a brother, the official said, adding that at least seven health care workers may have treated the teenager without the protective equipment essential for Ebola cases. A key member of the contact-tracing effort said one nurse wore only regular gloves when treating the teenager, who was bleeding at the time.
Along with the father and the 8-year-old brother who tested positive, the boy’s mother and two other brothers — a 2-month-old and a 5-year-old — were taken to the Ebola treatment center and were being tested. On Friday, two other people suspected of having Ebola were admitted to the center; neither is related to the family, said two health care workers involved with the cases.
In Paynesville, just outside Monrovia, health care workers in hazmat suits could be seen spraying the family’s house with disinfectant on Friday, and contact tracers were interviewing neighbors.
“I feel bad, that is my community members,” said one, Helena Bokai, who sat on her stoop. “Ebola is not for one person. It can travel all over. If they die we will feel bad. All of us are here and are living together.”
Health workers were also seen at the boy’s school, Living in Christ International Ministry School, spraying surfaces, setting up hand wash stations and distributing informational leaflets to students.
There were conflicting reports as to whether the boy had attended school after he became contagious. The vice principal of the school, G. Othello Mannieh, said the boy had not been in school for three weeks, and the school registrar said he had heard the same from other teachers.
But the senior health official said the boy had gone to school on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and an official involved with the investigation said the boy’s father had told health workers that the boy came home sick from school on Nov. 13, was treated at home by his parents over the weekend and went back to school on Monday.