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The U.N. peacekeeper tested positive for the Ebola Virus on December 3 has been taken to The Netherlands for treatment, a spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Health disclosed over the weekend.
The Nigerian soldier was flown out of Liberia and arrived in the Netherlands where he was taken into an isolation center at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, the spokesperson, Inge Freriksen, told The Associated Press news agency.
The head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Karin Landgren said 16 people who came into contact with the Nigerian soldier have been quarantined.
“I am encouraged that the medical evacuation process was organized quickly and efficiently and that the patient, who is in stable condition, will receive the best possible treatment at a Dutch medical facility. Our thoughts remain with him and his family at this difficult time, Madam Landgren said”.
The United Nations in Liberia continually seeks to strengthen the protection and response to Ebola among its personnel, and to prevent further transmission when they become infected.
In line with WHO protocols, the UNMIL Medical team has conducted immediate and robust contact tracing. As a result, 22 personnel have been isolated. All of them are currently asymptomatic. All areas where the individual is known to have been while symptomatic have also been thoroughly decontaminated.
In a statement issued over the weekend, Madam Landgren said “I take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to the Government of The Netherlands for accepting to treat the patient, and to the Governments of Germany and the United States for their medical and logistical support. I also wish to thank UNMIL troop and police contributors and all my colleagues for remaining steadfast in their service to Liberia and its people at this critical time.”
Report says this is the third infection for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) which comprises about 7,700 troops and police. Two other peacekeepers died of the disease in August.
More than 17,500 people, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have been affected by the disease. About 6,200 have died.
So far, Liberia has recorded the highest number of cases and deaths, but with infection rates stabilizing in the country, the government decided to go ahead with a special senatorial election (this month) which has temporarily been frozen following a stay order from the country's Supreme Court.