Joe, 11 year old and Solomon, a 14 year old received treatment in Liberia and Friday the two boys were declared Ebola-free by the U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Espinosa.
Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia faced the most devastating outbreak of the disease until now. This has forced the laboratory located in Bong County at about 120 miles to the east of capital Monravia to cut down testing time to only five hours from the previous five days.
A member of the U.S. Navy, Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Espinosa said on Sunday that:
“When I first arrived and visited the ETU (Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit), seeing the actual people that were relying on our work… it changed me. Now when we work in the lab, we see the person behind the sample and know that their lives could depend on us. It drives us.”
Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Espinosa, who has for the past five weeks, relentlessly been testing blood samples for the Ebola virus in Liberia gave the news to the two boys and declared them Ebola-free after treatment on Friday.
“Today you are finally cured! You have no virus left inside of you. You can go home,”
and went on to say that:
“People started clapping for them, the boys started clapping and smiling and one asked if he could leave right then. They were obviously very excited and happy.”
Solomon and Joe, who were being treated for the Ebola virus in the Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit for numerous weeks were finally sent home on Saturday Ebola-free.
Lieutenant Espinosa who himself is a father of four said:
“When I see the ages of the children that we test it’s very hard not to visualize my own children sick, in pain, and isolated there with no one to comfort them. It kills me”
“So, telling these boys, who are the same age as mine, was amazing.”
The virus that killed almost 5,000 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia infected 14 more of Solomon’s family members and Solomon’s ‚social sister’ Christine, the mother of which adopted and raised Solomon as her own, is still under treatment but the nurses that are currently treating her are confident in her recovery. Christine’s biological brother, however, 10 year old Rancy, died because of the virus within a week, although the boy was admitted and started treatment three days before Solomon and Christine.