Dr Moses Massaquoi, Liberia Case Management Team Leader for Ebola Task Force, on Friday confirmed in Monrovia that government was investigating animal link after Ebola re-emerges in the country.
Liberia confirmed a third Ebola case on Thursday, nearly two months after it was declared Ebola free.
He said that they were investigating whether the disease had spread through animals before resurfacing.
Massaquoi said that the animal aspect had become imperative because the three villagers who had tested positive for the disease “have a history of having had dog meat together’’.
He said that this was because dog meat consumption in Liberia was a delicacy.
Massaquoi said that the first new Liberian sufferer, 17-year-old Abraham Memaigar, died on Sunday in the village of Nedowein, while the two others had since tested positive in the village.
He said that some locals claimed that Memaigar and others in the village had recently dug up and eaten a dead dog.
The leader said though it had not been proved that dogs could carry the virus, but humans had been infected by eating monkey flesh in past outbreaks.
“A number of West African nations have banned the consumption of bush meat as a precaution.
Massaquoi said the response team was investigating whether domestic animals might be carrying the virus and was also checking on deaths of hundreds of cattle in remote Lofa county.
President Ellen Johnson has called on Liberians not to panic.
She said that the health team was on top of it and it would be contained.
Meanwhile, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the new Ebola cases pointed to gaps in Liberia’s basic infection control.
They said that improvements were urgently needed to prevent outbreaks in a region where the virus could be endemic.
A .U.S. military operation that helped Liberia’s government counter the outbreak has mostly withdrawn.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a U.S. health body, said it was working with authorities to study the origin of the cases and stop the virus from spreading.