The population of Liberia is once again in fear following pronouncement that the deadly Ebola virus has bounced back with its role to kill and make the country fearful for those wanting to visit the West African state.
Speaking to journalists yesterday at the Ministry of Information regular press briefing, the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia and Deputy Head of the Incidence Management System of Liberia’s Ebola response, Dr. Francis Kateh, said Sixteen people have been placed into quarantine in the Paynesville community of A.B. Tolbert Road outside Monrovia after a woman died of Ebola last week from the virus.
He further disclosed that four other persons who tested positive in the Ebola treatment unit were doing fine. He named Madam Kebbeh Kollie as the six persons tested positive of the disease since it reemerged in Liberia in late June, nearly a month after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the country free of Ebola.
Speaking further, Dr. Kateh said, “Couple of days ago we had about five confirmed cases in the country and then on the 12th of July we had the 6thconfirmed case.” “What is important about this case is that during our fight, we have tried to contain the disease within Margibi County, but we knew that there were contacts made from a place in Margibi and a place in Monrovia so we began an immediate step—a voluntary precautionary observation center was put in place within that area,” Dr. Kateh told the press conference,
Dr. Kateh said Kollie had not told healthcare workers the truth and that she took pills so that the true nature of her health could not be known. He said the woman’s case was a lesson to healthcare workers and the public, calling on people not to lie to healthcare workers about their contacts with an infected person or how they were faring.
“Please we need to be opened, we need to be honest with ourselves and it is through honesty that we can stop this disease,” he said. “If you are a contact and you are listed as a contact, please, you are going to do the general public some good if you’re going to go to a clinic and tell the healthcare workers that you are a contact. But most importantly, you have people monitoring you and you need to be opened with them.”
“That is what happened to this case. This case has been a contact, the case managers and others had gone to the house and [she] would always take something to bring the temperature down until she got into a worse situation. The ambulance was called to pick her up to the ETU (Ebola Treatment Unit) and by the time we could intervene, this sixth patient expired.”
“This lesson that we all need to learn: that we should be honest with ourselves and communicate as much as possible.
“For those that have been quarantined at the A.B. Tolbert Road area, please follow the guidelines and protocols and we are doing everything to support you.”
‘A good woman’
The deceased Kebbeh Kollie was a mother of three and a businesswoman, who, relatives say, was a family woman.
“I feel very bad about her death,” remarked a quarantined relative who goes by the same first and surname, Kebbeh Kollie. “She was concerned about everybody in the family; she was a good woman,” she told your reporter, managing to speak from her quarantine zone just at the front of their unfinished house surrounded by huge marshlands with towering grasses growing at the front of it.
The unfortunate Kollie caught the deadly disease after coming into contact with her brother, Cassius Kollie, who lives in Nedowein, the town in Margibi County, where the first five new cases originate.
“He (Cassius) used to come here to cut the grass in the yard, “said, Weedor Kollie, the mother of the deceased. She pointed at a shrub of well-grown grasses before their now quarantined home. “He did not show any signs and symptoms of Ebola when he came here,” she added.
Cassius is one of four persons being treated for Ebola in the ETU at the ELWA Hospital, who is linked to the deceased first case, the 17-year-old Abraham Memaigar.
‘County health officers on the alert, no need to panic’
Dr. Kateh said authorities were following contacts in Margibi and Montserrado that were being followed, adding that county health officers and superintendents had been alerted to keep surveillance. He said the current Ebola outbreak in the country would not be the same as the previous outbreak, where 4,800 people were killed.
“We have 124 contacts that we are following in Margibi and we have 16 contacts that we are following in Montserrado and the number could fluctuate, based on more information and investigation.
“We have written all of the county health officers in Liberia to be on the alert. In addition to that, we are asking the superintendents of the counties to work with the county health teams.
“We have the expertise. The only thing we want is you (public) should not conceal information.
”We are not saying that other counties are experiencing Ebola and so forth. We have been on the alert since we were declared Ebola-free. What we are doing now is to move a step forward.”