According to a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO), a mysterious illness continues claiming lives in Liberia. Since April 23rd, there have been 12 deaths and 22 cases of the illness. These include an unmentioned number of children. Three of the reported cases are still hospitalized in Sinoe County’s Francis Grant Hospital. Four people have been discharged.
Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO spokesperson, offered details about the state of the hospitalized people. He said they have stabilized and their state seems to be improving. Jasarevic also offered details about the current investigation into this mysterious illness.
Health officials are trying to determine and track down any potential active cases as they are also tracing contacts. At the same time, an epidemiological investigation is already underway. Specialists will be looking to establish the exact cause and source of this disease.
The WHO is currently consulting with the leaders of the affected local communities. It is also trying to mobilize people via social networks. WHO is encouraging and advising any person that feels sick to get checked at a hospital.
This Mysterious Illness Requires Special Measures
Jasarevic stated that, as the cause of the illness is still unknown, extra protective measures has to be taken in the hospitals treating these patients. These resemble those taken during the Ebola crisis, as hospital staff has to wear personal protective equipment and the patients are kept in isolation.
Health officials already tested the affected people for Ebola as well as the Lassa and yellow fever. However, these were all ruled out. The mysterious illness symptoms include confusion, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea.
Sorbor George, Liberia’s Ministry of Health Communication Director stated as follows.
“April 25, we got a call from the Sinoe County health team about a series of unexplained deaths. We are still not aware of what killed them.”
He then added that local authorities have sent samples to the Atlanta US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Liberian health care authorities are conducting new tests and will also be relying on the help of the international community in determining the nature of this mysterious illness.
According to reports, most of those affected attended a funeral before falling ill. Still, authorities “don’t want to be specific” and are still looking for the exact cause. Evidence suggests exposure or ingestion to a contaminant as a possible cause, but authorities will keep an eye open for other possible reasons.
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