Liberia Closes Border With Ebola-Hit Guinea
“We have ordered the border with Guinea closed with immediate effect. The border will remain closed until the situation in Guinea improves. We are not taking any chance at all.” – Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information
Monrovia – Taking a cue from mistakes made during the 2014 emergence of the deadly Ebola virus outbreak, Liberia Tuesday announced that it is shutting down its border with Guinea as a precaution against Ebola following at least four deaths from the virus in Guinea.
Guinea monitoring is currently monitoring some 816 Ebola contacts following a recent flare-up of the virus which has killed four persons. The deaths occurred since Feb. 29, while Liberia was declared free of new transmissions of the virus in January. The contacts being traced may have come into contact with victims of the disease or their corpses during a recent flare-up in a village in the country’s southeast, a health official said on Monday.
Mr. Lenn Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism said Tuesday that the government is taking no chances this time around. “We have ordered the border with Guinea closed with immediate effect. The border will remain closed until the situation in Guinea improves. Nagbe said. We are not taking any chance at all,” he said.
The haemorrhagic fever has killed about 11,300 people in the two countries plus Sierra Leone since late 2013 and it caused global alarm in 2014 as governments and health agencies rushed to help contain the outbreak. Following a resurgence of the virus last week, the World Health Organization warned that both Liberia and Guinea continue to be at risk of the hemorrhagic virus. The risk for Ebola flare-ups is largely attributed to the virus persisting for longer periods in some survivors.
Data from clinical observations and tests of Ebola survivors indicate that the virus can persist inside the eyes, amniotic fluid, placenta, central nervous system and breast milk for many months in some individuals who appeared to have recovered from the disease. Results of one study, for instance, have shown that some male Ebola survivors still produce semen that test positive of Ebola virus RNA for nine months or even longer.
WHO urged affected countries to remain alert and to be ready to respond. It also called for strong surveillance and maintenance of emergency response capacity along with strict observance of hygiene practices both in health facilities and at home. “Investments made in rapid response teams, surveillance, lab diagnostics, risk communication, infection prevention and control measures and other programs were put to the test and clearly paid off,” WHO said.