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Ebola Re-emergence of disease in Liberia may be linked to animals

Officials said they were investigating whether the disease had spread through animals before resurfacing.

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play (Tundeola)

It would appear that the resurfaced Ebola case in Liberia traces its origin to animals as authorities are currently investigating this possibility.

Officials said they were investigating whether the disease had spread through animals before resurfacing as Dr Moses Massaquoi, the case management team leader for Liberia's Ebola task force, said the three villagers who had tested positive for Ebola "have a history of having had dog meat together."

17-year-old Abraham Memaigar, became the first person to die of Ebola in the 2 months since Liberia was declared Ebola-free .

Memaigar died on Sunday in the village of Nedowein, and villagers report that he and the 2 others who have now tested positive for the disease had recently dug up and eaten a dead dog.

play Dog meat is commonly eaten in Liberia (Shift Gig)


Based on this, Massaquoi said the response team was investigating whether domestic animals might be carrying the virus and was also checking on deaths of hundreds of cattle in remote Lofa county.

None of the new victims is known to have traveled to Guinea or Sierra Leone, and Nedowein is far from the borders, leading to speculation that there could be hidden pockets of the virus or new means of transmission.

According to  Ian Mackay, a virologist at Australia's University of Queensland, there may still be clusters of EVD (Ebola) within Liberia that have been smoldering on without the knowledge of any authorities.

Another possible scenario with the resurgence of the disease is through sexual transmission, as the virus can persist in semen for up to 90 days, versus 21 days in blood or vomit.

175 people believed to have come into contact with the three cases are currently being monitored by health authorities, though none had yet exhibited symptoms.

play Liberian president, Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson (Forbes)


Meanwhile President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has urged people not to panic assuring that the health team will contain the disease, even as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the new Ebola cases pointed to gaps in Liberia's basic infection control.

According to Reuters, a US military operation that helped Liberia's government counter the outbreak has mostly withdrawn.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a US health body, said it was working with authorities to study the origin of the cases and stop the virus spreading.


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