Monday, October 26, 2015
World Health Organization Reports Positive Trends in Fight Against Ebola
Story & Picture Courtesy of AFRICA UPDATE – October Vol. 3
Office of U.S. Representative Karen Bass
In early October, World Health Organization (WHO) reporting indicates a positive trend toward abating the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The WHO’s latest “Ebola Situation Report” indicates that there are no confirmed new cases of Ebola virus since the week of October 4 in each of the three most devastated countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. This marks the first time that a complete epidemiological week has elapsed with zero confirmed cases since March of 2014.
The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been the largest and most geographically wide spread since the first Ebola virus was first recorded in Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. So far, 37,769 cases of Ebola have been diagnosed, with 862 deaths in Guinea, 2,484 deaths in Liberia, and 1, 200 in Sierra Leone.
In Guinea, all patients diagnosed with the virus have now completed their follow-up and all are reported to have tested negative for active Ebola virus. For Liberia, the positive trend began when the incidence of newly confirmed cases continued to remain below 10 per week for 11 consecutive weeks. Over the same period, transmission of the virus has been geographically confined to several small areas across Liberia. Health officials in Sierra Leone have not reported or confirmed any new cases of Ebola for the third consecutive week prior to the World Health Organization’s report. All contact linked to the country’s two most recently active chains of transmission have now completed 21 days quarantine. In addition, the last case to receive treatment was discharged from an Ebola treatment center on September 26, 2015.
If continued, this trajectory is promising for the fight to end the Ebola outbreak. Despite this encouraging progress, considerable effort is required to halt all chains of transmission in the affected countries; prevent further spread of the disease; relieve the pressure on national healthcare infrastructure; and to help reactivate essential healthcare services in these countries.