Liberia confirmed a second case of Ebola on Tuesday, just a day after the first case since the virus was declared eliminated in May.
It’s bad news for Liberia, which had worked hard to eliminate the virus. It suggests that Ebola may still be circulating undetected. Liberia’s neighbors, Sierra Leone and Guinea, are still recording several new cases every week.
Liberia was declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization on May 9 and aid workers had closed Ebola treatment units.
The West African epidemic has killed more than 11,200 people and infected more than 27,000 since it began in December 2013. "We have two confirmed cases today in Liberia," said Dr. Moses Massaquoi of Liberia's Ebola task force. He did not provide details of the new case.
The body of a 17-year-old boy from a rural area outside of Monrovia tested positive for the virus on Sunday. It is not clear how he was infected, WHO said.
"After presenting at a local health facility the patient was treated for malaria and discharged," WHO said in its weekly update on Ebola.
"He died on 28 June and received a safe burial the same day. An oral swab taken before the burial subsequently tested positive twice for Ebola."
WHO said the boy had been in close contact with at least 102 people, who will be followed. "The case reportedly had no recent history of travel, contact with visitors from affected areas, or funeral attendance."
The symptoms of Ebola resemble those of malaria, which kills far more people in Liberia than Ebola ever did. More than a million people get malaria every year in Liberia.
Reuters contributed to this article