A 30-year-old woman who died from Ebola last week arrived in Liberia from Guinea, where her husband had died of unknown causes, the World Health Organization said Monday as it traced the source of a flareup that put authorities on high alert for the virus that had been nearly stamped out after a two-year outbreak in West Africa.
Upon her March 21 arrival, the woman and her three children stayed with relatives in the capital city of Monrovia. She developed Ebola symptoms and died Thursday on the way to the hospital, according to the WHO.
Her death occurred just days after the WHO said Ebola is no longer a public health emergency of global concern, citing West Africa’s ability to identify and isolate small outbreaks.
One of the woman’s children — a boy — tested positive for Ebola and is being treated at a Monrovia facility, while her other two children and her sister are being monitored for the disease.
In the meantime, officials are widening their investigation from Liberia, where 84 contacts of the deceased woman have been identified, to Guinea, based on her family’s travel history.
The flareup underscores the wily persistence of Ebola, which killed more than 11,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea during the height of the epidemic from December 2013 to late 2015.
The WHO clears a country of Ebola if 42 days, or two of the virus’s 21-day incubation periods, pass since the last known patient tests negative for the virus.
Yet sporadic cases have kicked off a cycle of “clearing” affected nations, only to reset the clock when new cases pop up.
Liberia had been cleared of the virus on Jan. 14 after a mid-November flareup, and neighboring Guinea is investigating a cluster of new cases in one of its southern regions.
• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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