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EBOLA 1...New Cases Reported In Liberia

Dozens of new Ebola cases have erupted in western Liberia, near the border with Sierra Leone.  Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah, who confirmed the information Monday, said the new cases were reported in Grand Cape Mount County.


He told the state radio (ELBC) that forty-nine cases were reported in the county between December 1 and 25. Mr. Nyenswah said the latest outbreak is due to several factors, including cross border trade and traditional practices such as the washing of dead bodies.

Nearly 3,400 people have died from Ebola in Liberia over the past year with nearly 8,000 cases in total, though health officials said earlier that the situation had improved, especially in the capital, Monrovia.

However, the latest reports suggest that the disease is spreading again following reports that it was waning. Weeks before Liberia held special senatorial election, international health experts had warned Liberians to be mindful that new Ebola cases could erupt if they didn't take precaution.

Meanwhile, the global death toll from Ebola has risen to 7,588 out of 19,497 confirmed cases recorded in the year-old epidemic raging in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Reuters reported that the virus is still spreading intensely in Sierra Leone, especially in the north and west, with 315 new confirmed cases reported in the former British colony in the week to December 21. These included 115 cases in the capital Freetown.

"The neighboring district of Port Loko experienced a surge in new cases, reporting 92 confirmed cases compared with 56 the previous week," the WHO said.

In Sierra Leone, information about how to prevent and treat Ebola was provided to more than 5,000 households between 10 and 17 December as part of a major awareness campaign.

In Guinea, 156 confirmed cases were recorded during the same period, "the highest weekly case incidence reported by the country in this outbreak", the WHO said.

"This largely due to a surge in cases in the south-eastern district of Kissidougou, which reported 58 confirmed cases – one-third of cases reported in the country in the past week."

In Liberia, where case incidence has been declining for the past month, 21 cases were reported in the week to December 21.

Montserrado county, including the capital Monrovia, still has the highest rates of the disease nationwide, while along the Côte d'Ivoire border to the east, Nimba County reported 3 confirmed cases.