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Liberia: 2 boys infected with Ebola responding to Zmapp treatment

Liberia: 2 boys infected with Ebola responding to Zmapp treatment

Liberia

Health authorities in Liberia on Tuesday said two boys, aged 5 and 3 years, infected with the Ebola virus, are positively responding to Zmapp treatment.

The eldest of the two, a 5-year-old, tested positive for Ebola just days after his mother died of the virus on March 31.

The death of the 30-year-old woman comes months after Liberia was declared free of the virus. Her death followed a recent flare-up that cost the lives of at least four people in neighboring Guinea.

79 people who said they had been in contact with the mother of the boys are still under quarantine as health officials monitor them daily.

Liberia has recorded 10,675 cases and over 4,809 deaths from Ebola as at March 27, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The country was first declared free from transmission of the virus in May 2015, but the virus has since been re-introduced twice, with the latest flare-up in November.

Even though the WHO recently said that West Africa’s Ebola outbreak was no longer an international public health risk, there have been small flare-ups even after countries received the all-clear.

Guinea on March 17 announced new cases, hours after Sierra Leone had declared an end of active transmission, which briefly meant that West Africa was officially free of Ebola.

Liberia subsequently closed its border with Guinea out of fear of a potential spread of the outbreak onto its territory.

It was not immediately known whether the death in Liberia was linked to the new cases in Guinea.

According to Liberian health authorities, the biggest challenge is access to medical and psychosocial care for potential and actual patients, as well as the provision of counseling and education to help them reintegrate into family and community life, reduce stigma and minimize the risk of transmission.