Between August 2 and 4, 2014, a total of 108 new cases of Ebola virus disease (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 45 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
A mission briefing with representatives from World Health Organization (WHO) member states was held on August 5 at the WHO headquarters. Information about the nature of Ebola virus disease (EVD) was highlighted. This was followed by outlining the essential components for control, including the need for national leadership, improved care and case management, identifying transmission chains and stopping disease spread, and preventing further outbreaks. Among the critical issues are: cross-border infections and travelers; partners reaching the limits of their capacity and ability to respond rapidly, safely, and effectively; and concerns about the socio-economic impact of continued transmission.
Director-General Margaret Chan also shared information from her recent meetings in Guinea with Member States of the Mano River Union – Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. She outlined that the response in West Africa would focus on three areas:
- Treatment of Guéckédou, Kenema, and Foya as a unified sector, which will include public health measures meant to reduce movement in and out of the area.
- Intensifying current measures in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
- Taking steps to reduce international spread to other countries in Africa and outside of the African Region.
The Sub-regional Ebola Operations Coordination Centre (SEOCC) in Conakry reported on August 5 that the following actions are underway in the four affected countries:
- In Guinea, new foci have emerged and case management facilities will be needed. Exit screening is currently being tested in Conakry, in partnership with the CDC.
- In Liberia, security issues continue to be of concern, notwithstanding the commitment of the Government. Community resistance remains high.
- In Nigeria, the government is focused on following up the contacts from the index case. Clinical support is urgently needed and a treatment centre is being set up for managing cases of EVD.
- In Sierra Leone, efforts are underway to map where treatment centres are most needed and getting those set up. A similar exercise is underway for laboratories.
The SEOCC is assisting countries with these and many other response measures.
On Aug. 6, 2014, WHO is convening an Emergency Committee of international experts to review the outbreak and advise the director-general, in accordance with the International Health Regulations, whether the Ebola virus disease outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Experts will receive an epidemiological briefing and will determine whether the criteria for a PHEIC have been met. If the Emergency Committee agrees that this is a PHEIC, they will then advise the director-general on temporary recommendations.