Ebola Resurfacing…Mont. Still High; Cape Mt. Declared “Red County”

The Incident Management System (IMS), the group in the battle against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has disclosed that the Ebola virus has resurfaced with Montserrado County still reporting more cases.

The head of IMS, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, told a news conference in Monrovia yesterday that the Ebola alert and response had systematically gathered official reports and rumors of confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola.

Mr. Nyenswah who is also the Assistant Minister of Health for Preventive Services said the Incident Management System (IMS) the overarching body for EVD response is concerned about the alarming increase of Ebola Virus Disease cases in Grand Cape Mount County.

He said in the past twenty-five days, December 1-25, 2014, forty-nine (49) cases have been reported in Grand Cape Mount County with 27 confirmed, 9 probable with 13 suspected cases.

He said while the fight against the EVD continues, Grand Cape Mount County, with this latest development puts it in a RED County Category as the Epidemiological Map shows second to Montserrado as counties with highest burden of EVD.

Mr. Nyenswah stressed that practices such as migration of suspected and probable cases within and out of the county, continuous denial by community dwellers that people are not dying from EVD and traditional or cultural practices are still active in Grand Cape Mount County.

Citing an example, Mr. Nyenswah said preparation of the dead before burial and secret burials are still ongoing in Grand Cape Mount County.

He said the IMS has observed with graveness, high level of complacency and gross disregard to the preventive measures that were laid down by the Ministry of Health which include constant hand washing with soap, chlorine solution, ashes, sanitizers and other liquid items.

He further said dead bodies should be buried safely (Safe and Dignified Burials),people should keep sick people in their own area and do not touch them; people must speak out if they know a sick person and help health workers find those who touched a sick person.

The IMS head also said “contacts” should stay to places with food and water and that the public should call 4455 for help in case of noticing any Ebola case.

He said the IMS is also opening the ETU in Grand Cape Mount County today and installing a new laboratory in two weeks while carrying out massive mobilization of partnership to support the county health team in a bid to bring the situation under control.

Mr. Nyeswah also disclosed that for the first time IMS meeting will be held out of Monrovia in Senje to increase the level of activities while deployment of World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Advisor, Dr. Peter Clement to Grand Cape Mount to apply the Lofa experience and bring the situation under control.

However, Minister Nyeswah stressed that only behavior change of all Grand Cape Mount citizens and residents in the county will stop Ebola. “Only Liberians and people in Liberia across the 15 counties taking the preventive measures will stop Ebola,” he said.

Minister Nyeswah said a 12-year old child who was brought to Liberia from Guinea was Ebola positive and following treatment the child infected another person both of whom have died. “For this reason we have traced about 47 persons in Nimba all of whom have been quarantined for 21 days,” he added.

He also disclosed that some people dressed a corpse like any normal human being and put it in a taxi en route to Gibi District for burial but the Ebola team intersected them and the body was confirmed to be an Ebola positive dead person. He has therefore strongly warned against secret burial if Ebola must indeed be eradicated in the country.