Ebola Kills 6 In Monrovia Says Dep. Health Minister

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Health Minister Walter Gwenegale (L) and Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bernice Dahn, who made the pronouncement

The deadly Ebola disease has hit New Kru Town on Bushrod Island, the fringe of Monrovia, killing six people from seven confirmed cases.

The Deputy Health Minister and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Beernice Dahn, told reporters that laboratory results confirmed that four of the deaths were Ebola-related, while one of the victims is still alive in isolation.

New Kru Town is one of the most congested and populated slum communities in Monrovia that usually suffer from outbreaks of communicable diseases.

“The seven cases include an index case and seven contacts connected to the index case,” she pointed out.

The Chief Medical Officer further disclosed that the one index case was a female who travelled from Kailahun District in Sierra Leone and settled in the Nyuan Panton Community, New Kru Town, with family members where she felt sick and later died.

She said over 60 Red Cross volunteers are being trained and will be deployed in various communities in New Kru Town and other parts of Monrovia to enhance contact tracing to ensure that those who came in contact with the patients are located and closely observed for signs and symptoms of the disease.

Dahn said the Ministry of Health field team is holding regular meetings with opinion leaders, including the House of Representatives, governors, chiefs, religious and traditional leaders, encouraging them to cooperate with “contact” tracing by helping to locate contacts and to follow instructions from health workers in order to avoid the spread of the virus.

The Chief Medical Officer also disclosed that there are reports of fresh cases of Ebola outbreak in Foya, Lofa County.

Meanwhile, she has urged the general public to remain calm and to go about their normal businesses as all is being done by government to curtail the spread of the disease.

She, however, called on Liberians to avoid contact with infected persons and ensure that individuals, who died or were suspected to have died from Ebola, are immediately buried under the supervision of health workers to ensure safety.

Dahn also warned family members of persons who were suspected to have died from the disease, to avoid direct contact with the bodies of Ebola victims, especially their body fluids so as to prevent the rapid spread of the virus to other communities.

She also urged Liberians to avoid eating bush meat and to constantly chlorinate their water before drinking it as well as to regularly wash their hands before and after eating as a way of preventing the spread of the Ebola virus.

Since the outbreak of the deadly virus in Liberia, originating from neighboring Guinea, few months ago, the disease has so far claimed the lives of 17 of the 31 people who were reported to have been infected.

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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