Liberia fears a new Ebola epidemic after second case is discovered

Health workers in Liberia
Health workers in Liberia
Image: AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh
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Seven weeks after being declared Ebola-free, Liberia has found a second case of the deadly disease, sparking fears that the country could find itself back in the middle of an epidemic if precautions are not put in place.

The first Ebola case since the country declared an all-clear was discovered on Sunday in a 17-year old boy in the village of Nedowein. The boy had been thought to have malaria and had come in contact with several people. The virus that causes the disease was only discovered after he died.

The latest case has been discovered in the same village, in a person who had come into contact with the first victim. Liberian authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) will have to hope they can keep the disease contained in the small community.

The new case comes in the same week over 100 Liberian health workers staged a protest at Liberia’s Ministry of Health in the capital city of Monrovia. They are demanding hazard pay that they said they haven’t received since the country was declared Ebola-free by WHO on May 9.

Liberia was the worst hit of the three West African countries affected by the disease since last year. The other two neighboring countries, Sierra Leone and Guinea, have never declared total victory over the disease, though both countries have gotten the epidemic under control. However, Sierra Leone has confirmed new cases in the last month.

More than 4,800 people died of Ebola in Liberia. Overall, more than 11,000 have died from the disease since December 2013.