* Virus spreads from remote far north to capital
* Woman brought Ebola from Sierra Leone to Monrovia
* More than 200 dead in the region from Ebola
(Adds context, colour)
MONROVIA, June 17 At least four people have died
from Ebola in Liberia's capital Monrovia, a World Health
Organisation (WHO) and a government official said on Tuesday,
the first confirmed deaths in the city from a months-long
The first cases of the deadly virus were reported in the
West African country in March but until now most cases have been
contained in the remote far north near the Guinean border.
"There are seven cases reported in one of the suburbs of
Monrovia and four are confirmed. They are all dead," said WHO's
country representative Nestor Ndayimirije.
He said that the new cases had been linked to an elderly
woman who arrived in the country from neighbouring Sierra Leone
about a fortnight ago.
The regional outbreak began in southern Guinea in February.
Since then more than 200 people have died in Guinea, Sierra
Leone and Liberia and new cases are still being reported despite
Guinea's claims to have brought the situation under control.
A Liberian health ministry report dated June 16 showed there
were 18 confirmed cases and 15 suspected (CHG) cases in Liberia,
most of them in the northern Lofa County.
Thomas Nagbe, director of the Disease Prevention and Control
Division at Liberia's Health Ministry, said that four people in
the capital had died from Ebola and four other deaths were
suspected cases of the virus.
"We never had the opportunity to confirm the other four
because they died and were buried before we got to know," said
Nagbe, adding that one of the dead was a health worker.
Liberia is seeking to attract foreign investment as it
recovers from an on-off 14-year civil war funded by "blood
diamonds" that finally ended in 2003.
A Reuters reporter said the streets around the affected
neighbourhood of Monrovia's New Kru Town were unusually quiet on
Tuesday, with some cafes closed.
Many residents of the poor, crowded northern suburb of the
seaside capital live in shacks made of zinc sheets and share
rudimentary toilet facilities.
Health workers at the local hospital said they planned to
conduct house searches after residents told them they feared
there may be more suspected cases among their neighbours.
Ebola, a tropical virus that kills around 90 percent of its
victims, initially causes a raging fever, headaches, muscle pain
and conjunctivitis, before moving to severe phases that bring on
vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.
(Reporting by Alphonso Toweh, Emma Farge and Bate Felix;
Editing by Daniel Flynn and Susan Fenton)