(Adds comment from U.N. health agency)
By James Harding Giahyue
MONROVIA Nov 24 A 15-year-old boy has died of
Ebola in Liberia, the first such fatality for months in a
country declared free of the disease in September, its chief
medical officer said on Tuesday.
The boy tested positive last week and died late on Monday in
hospital in Paynesville near the capital, where his father and
brother are also being treated for Ebola, officials said.
Liberia has placed under surveillance 153 people who may
have come into contact with the boy. A further 25 healthcare
workers are being monitored, of whom 10 are identified as
high-risk, chief medical officer Francis Kateh said.
The source of the virus is being investigated and Liberia
has requested the assistance of two experts from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.
"Our working hypothesis is that the virus is reintroduced
into the human population through uninfected people and we know
that it is a possibility that people who have been infected with
the virus previously may continue to transmit," said the Liberia
country representative for the U.N. World Health Organization,
Dr. Alex Gasasira.
The U.N. health agency has twice declared the West African
nation Ebola-free, once on May 9 and again on Sept. 3. Liberia's
last Ebola death was in July.
More than 11,300 people have died of the virus since it
broke out in West Africa in March 2014. Of the three main
countries affected, Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free on Nov.
7 and Guinea started its countdown to zero on Nov. 16. Over
4,800 people died of Ebola in Liberia, according to WHO figures.
Liberia is working with international partners including the
WHO on a protocol so that a trial Ebola vaccine can be
administered to people who might have been exposed to the new
confirmed cases, Gasasira said.
Trials of the vaccine have proven effective in Guinea and
Sierra Leone, he said.
(Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and