Ebola Virus outbreak
Date: 17 Mar 2016
Leave a comment
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014, and has rapidly become the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976.
In fact, the current epidemic sweeping across the region has now killed more than all other known Ebola outbreaks combined.
Up to 23 October, 4,922 people had been reported as having died from the disease in five countries; Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the United States. A further death has been reported in Mali.
The total number of reported cases is in excess of 10,000.
(WHO) admits the figures are underestimates and warns there could be as many as 20,000 cases by November if efforts to tackle the outbreak are not stepped up.
By September 2014, WHO director general Margaret Chan said that the "number of patients is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them".
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, Thomas Frieden, said in October that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is unlike anything since the emergence of HIV/Aids.
Despite attempts to deploy more health workers and open new Ebola treatment centres in the worst-affected countries, the WHO said that there was still a significant lack of beds in Sierra Leone and Liberia, with more than 3,000 needed.
The WHO has declared the outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal officially over, as there have been no new cases reported since 5 September.
The same cannot be said for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Transmission is continuing in urban areas, with the surge in Liberia driven mainly by a sharp increase in the number of cases reported in the capital, Monrovia.
The situation in Sierra Leone also continues to deteriorate with a sharp increase in the number of newly-reported cases in the capital, Freetown, and its neighbouring districts of Port Loko, Bombali, and Moyamba, which were placed under quarantine on 25 September.
That means that five of Sierra Leone's 15 districts are on lockdown, with more than a third of the population of six million no longer able to move freely.
Figures accurate from 4-6 October, depending on country. Death toll in Liberia includes probable, suspect and confirmed cases, while in Sierra Leone and Guinea only confirmed cases are shown
In March 2014, hospital staff alerted Guinea's Ministry of Health and then the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). They reported a mysterious disease in the south-eastern regions of Gueckedou, Macenta, Nzerekore, and Kissidougou.
It caused fever, diarrhoea and vomiting. It also had a high death rate. Of the first 86 cases, 59 people died.
The WHO later confirmed the disease as Ebola.