New cases of Ebola emerge in Liberia

Ebola virus particles (green)

Ebola virus particles (green) bud from an infected cell (blue). The virus has infected more people in Liberia.

NIAID/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Ebola is back in Liberia more than a month after the country thought it was rid of the virus.

A 17-year-old man died on June 29 of a fever illness that was being treated as malaria. As part of Liberia’s Ebola surveillance, swabs from the young man were collected by a safe burial team. Tests revealed that the young man died of Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced July 3.

Two of the nearly 200 people who came in contact with the young man have also developed Ebola symptoms and have been found to carry the virus. Other contacts are being monitored.

Liberia was declared Ebola-free on May 9 after 42 days without a new case. It is not known how the young man became infected.

To date 27,573 people have contracted Ebola and 11,246 have died. Most of the cases have occurred in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

A report issued July 7 by a panel that analyzed the global response to the Ebola outbreak says the WHO and its member states were ill-equipped to handle the epidemic and must make changes to safeguard public health.

Tina Hesman Saey is the senior staff writer and reports on molecular biology. She has a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in science journalism from Boston University.

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