Ebola back in Liberia 2 months after being declared free of virus that killed over 11,000

A health worker injects a woman with an anti-Ebola vaccine during a trial in Monrovia, on Feb. 2, 2015.Reuters

Liberia confirmed at least two positive cases of Ebola on Wednesday, nearly two months since the country was declared Ebola-free, igniting fears that the deadly virus, which has killed thousands in the region, is making a return.

Since the outbreak began in December 2013, a total of 11,207 people have died from Ebola in Liberia, neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Liberia confirmed its second case on Tuesday only a day after authorities said they found a new case of the virus that was believed to have been wiped off, a senior health official said.

"We have two confirmed cases today in Liberia," said Dr. Moses Massaquoi, who heads the case management team for Liberia's Ebola task force.

No details on the new case have been disclosed.

The body of a 17-year-old boy from the rural area of Margibi County tested positive for the virus on Sunday and was immediately buried on the same day. It is not yet clear how he was infected.

The people who have been in contact with the boy and are at risk of spreading the virus have already been isolated, according to health officials.

Two persons sharing the teenager's house have been confirmed as positive with the virus, according to a post on Twitter by the Liberian information ministry.

However, it was not made clear if they were the two cases cited by Massaquoi.

Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, spokesperson for the UN Ebola response mission, said the resurgence of the virus should not be a surprise.

"This should have been expected because as long as there is Ebola in the region no one country can be safe. Liberia is vulnerable because of Guinea and Sierra Leone," she said.

The total number of new infections in neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone has remained steady at between 20 and 27 for several weeks, wrote The Gospel Herald.

The UN official added that Liberia's response capacity will be tested "at a time when international health organisations have wound down their presence in the affected countries."

Liberia was once at the centre of history's worst Ebola epidemic.

It was deemed free of the virus by the WHO on May 9 after no new infections were recorded in 42 days.