MONROVIA. — Liberia confirmed a third Ebola case yesterday, nearly two months after it was declared Ebola free, and officials said they were investigating whether the disease had managed to lurk in animals before resurfacing. Dr Moses Massaquoi, case management team leader for Liberia’s Ebola task force, said the three villagers who had tested positive for the disease had shared a meal of dog meat, which is commonly eaten in Liberia. “They come from the same time and have a history of having had dog meat together,” he said. The response team was investigating whether domestic animals might be carrying the virus, he said, referring also to mysterious deaths of hundreds of cattle in remote Lofa county. Liberia, the country worst hit by the west African Ebola outbreak last year, was also its biggest success story: the only one of the three hard-hit countries so far to be declared Ebola free
The outbreak was declared over in Liberia on May 9, even as cases have continued to emerge in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Guinea. Liberia accounts for more than 4 800 of the 11 220 deaths in the west African outbreak. The first new Liberian case, 17-year-old Abraham Memaigar, died on Sunday in the village of Nedowein in Margibi County, about 50km from the capital Monrovia. Two others have since tested positive in the village. “We have, as of yesterday, three confirmed cases,” Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said yesterday. “One expired, who was the 17-year-old boy . . . The two live cases are 24 years old and 27 years old. They are stable.” None of the new victims are known to have travelled to Guinea or Sierra Leone, and Nedowein is far from the borders, leading to speculation that there could be hidden pockets of the virus or new means of transmission. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf voiced confidence that Liberia’s Ebola taskforce would quickly bring the situation under control. —Reuters.