In a follow-up report on the unexplained cluster of illnesses and deaths in Liberia, as of May 4, a total of 28 cases including 12 deaths (case fatality rate: 43 %) were reported, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Image/PublicDomainPictures via pixabay
Image/PublicDomainPictures via pixabay

Of those, 26 cases including 10 deaths were reported from Sinoe County, all in persons who had attended the funeral. The other two cases, both fatal, were reported from the capital Monrovia in Montserrado County.

The first case was identified on Apr. 23 when an 11-year-old child had been admitted to hospital presenting with diarrhea, vomiting and mental confusion after attending the funeral of a religious leader on Apr. 22. The child died within one hour of admission.

Concerning the Monrovia cases, the first case in Monrovia had attended the funeral in Sinoe County and presented with fever, headache and vomiting on Apr. 27. He passed away at a hospital in Monrovia. On Apr. 29, his partner who did not attend the funeral also became ill and passed away the same day.

WHO says at this point, the overall risk of spread of the outbreak is considerate as low as it is clustered among the participants of the funeral.

Of the nearly two dozen samples tested, Ebola and Lassa viruses have been ruled out. Samples from individuals (e.g. blood, urine, rectal swab, and others) and environment, including food samples are being further analyzed and tested.

In addition, water testing from the sources serving the affected areas has been conducted and preliminary results ruled out bacterial contamination. Heavy metal and chemical testing is ongoing.