UN urges surveillance as Liberia investigates animal link after the resurgence of Ebola.
July 8, 2015 On the heels of two new cases of Ebola in Liberia comes the call from the UN for rigorous testing in Ebola affected countries, to investigate whether the disease spread through animals before resurfacing. To this effect authorities have quarantined the village of Nedowein, located about 50 km outside the capital Monrovia, where people in the area are being monitored for symptoms of the disease.
Liberia’s Ebola task force said the three villagers who had tested positive for the disease “have a history of having had dog meat together.” Dog meat is a popular delicacy in Liberia.
The first new victim, 17-year-old Abraham Memaigar, died on June 27 in the village of Nedowein, and two others have also tested positive in the village. Some locals said the deceased and some others in the village had recently dug up and eaten a dead dog.
Although it has not been proven that dogs can carry the virus, humans have been infected by eating monkey flesh in past outbreaks, leading to the banning of bush meat in some West African nations as a precaution.
UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said the UN was urging active monitoring of the virus spread.
“The Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, Peter Graaff, said today that the comeback of the disease in Liberia underscored the need for rigorous testing. The Government of Liberia announced three new confirmed Ebola cases since Sunday. Mr. Graaff stressed the need to maintain active surveillance and commended the swift revival of the Ebola response mechanism led by the Liberian government,”
Health officials say another possibility of transmission is that the virus may have survived among humans in remote areas, since the virus can survive in semen for up to 90 days, versus 21 days in blood or vomit.
According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the new Ebola cases show the gaps in Liberia‘s basic infection control, which really need improvement, as one of the worst hit regions.