Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa: 158 New Cases

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The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to closely monitor the evolving Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The current epidemic trend in Sierra Leone and Liberia remains serious, with high numbers of new cases and deaths being reported. Between July 8 and July 12, 2014, 79 new cases, and 65 deaths were reported from Liberia and Sierra. In Liberia, 30 new cases and 13 deaths were reported, while in Sierra Leone, 49 new cases and 52 deaths have been reported. These include suspect, probable and laboratory confirmed cases. This trend indicates that a high level of transmission of the Ebola Virus continues to take place in the community. The epidemic situation in Guinea is being closely observed, with 6 new cases and 3 deaths reported between July 8 and July, 2014. The respective Ministries of Health are working with WHO and partners to step up outbreak containment measures.

As a follow up action to the Emergency Ministerial meeting in Accra, the regional director of the WHO African Region has taken a decision to re-deploy senior, technical, and support staff to the sub-regional coordination centre that is being established in Conakry, Guinea. The personnel re-assigned include a director, regional advisors, epidemiologists, communication experts, social mobilization specialists, data managers, administrative officers, and other support staff. Preparation to establish the coordination centre is being finalized, with operations of the centre scheduled to be activated on July 15, 2014. The centre will act as a control and coordination platform, consolidating and harmonizing the technical support to the West African countries including assisting in resource mobilization.

The three affected countries, with support from WHO, have initiated the process of reviewing and updating the current EVD national response plans. This exercise will lead to the development of prioritized national operational plans, aligned to the inter-country strategy adopted by the Ministers of Health in Accra. The operational plan will clearly highlight priority interventions and map out the required resources (human, financial, and logistics) for effective implementation of the outbreak containment measures. In addition, these documents will be vital for mobilization of the additional resources.

WHO is currently supporting the affected countries to strengthen contact tracing, as one of the most effective outbreak containment measures. Early detection and prompt isolation of new EVD cases is requisite for interrupting secondary transmission of Ebola virus in the community. Therefore, WHO supported the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) of Liberia to identify and train 107 community volunteers and 33 supervisors. In Sierra Leone, a total of 296 community volunteers have been trained. The trained volunteers have been deployed in the affected communities to conduct contact tracing and ensure immediate evacuation of suspected EVD cases from the community. In response to a request from MOHSW Liberia, WHO, with support from the Government of the United States of America, has supplied personal protective equipment (PPE) for and other medical supplies to Liberia in order to ensure the safety of healthcare workers in their response efforts. This donation, was handed over to MOHSW Liberia on June 26 and July 3, included PPE appropriate for use by both clinical care and burial teams. On July 14, additional supplies, including backpack sprayers and hand sprayers for disinfection as well disposal bags for biohazard wastes, were delivered to the country.

WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone based on the current information available for this event.

Source: WHO

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