Outbreak and Current Disease Status Information

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

WHO Disease Outbreaks news - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 06:00
WHO continues to monitor the evolution of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. Between 18 – 20 July 2014, 45 new cases and 28 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. These include suspect, probable, and laboratory-confirmed cases. The respective Ministries of Health continue to work with WHO and its partners to implement outbreak containment measures.

The Regional Director, WHO African Region, began official visits to the three West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone on 21 July 2014. On the first leg of his mission, the Regional Director visited Liberia from 21 - 22 July 2014. The goal of the visit is to make a first-hand assessment of the EVD outbreak, review the current outbreak response and challenges, and explore the best ways to rapidly contain the EVD outbreak in West Africa. The Regional Director held official meetings with the President of Liberia and the Minister of Health, including senior government officials. The President and the Regional Director also participated in the Ebola national coordination meeting at the Ministry of Health. During this meeting, the Regional Director emphasized the need to step up implementation of key outbreak containment strategies, including community engagement and involvement, effective contact tracing, cross-border collaboration and effective coordination. Discussions were also held with international and local non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, and other stakeholders to enhance collaboration and effective coordination. The Regional Director called upon all partners to be fully involved in the EVD outbreak response. Following his visit to Liberia, significant financial contributions and commitments were made, including from the Government and partners.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – update

WHO Disease Outbreaks news - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 08:15
On 12 July 2014, the National IHR Focal Point of the Islamic Republic of Iran reported to WHO an additional laboratory-confirmed case of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

The patient is a 67-year-old woman from Kerman Province. The patient had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and was admitted to a hospital on 6 June 2014 due to a COPD exacerbation. The patient was discharged on 14 June 2014 and continued treatment at home. She was in a stable condition until she developed severe acute respiratory symptoms and was readmitted to a hospital on 25 June 2014. The patient was laboratory-confirmed with MERS-CoV on 5 July 2014 and died on the same day. The patient had no history of travel and no known history of contact with animals or consumption of raw camel milk products in the 14 days prior to becoming ill. The patient did not have known contact with a previously reported MERS-CoV case. However, during her first hospitalisation, the patient had close contact with another patient with severe acute respiratory infection.

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

WHO Disease Outbreaks news - Sat, 07/19/2014 - 06:00
WHO continues to monitor the evolution of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. The current epidemic trend of EVD outbreak in Sierra Leone and Liberia remains serious, with 67 new cases and 19 deaths reported from 15 – 17 July 2014. These include suspect, probable, and laboratory-confirmed cases. The EVD outbreak in Guinea continues to show a declining trend, with no new cases reported during this period. Critical analyses and review of the current outbreak response is being undertaken to inform the process of developing prioritized national operational plans. Effective implementation of the prioritized plans will be vital in reversing the current trend of EVD outbreak, especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

WHO has been working with national authorities and partners in the affected countries to analyse and review the current outbreak response. An assessment of the outbreak response conducted in Liberia identified several gaps and challenges. Some of the gaps identified include low coverage of contact tracing; persisting denial and resistance in the community; weak data management; inadequate infection prevention and control practices, especially in peripheral health facilities; and weak leadership and coordination at sub-national levels. Underpinning these challenges were limited financial resources and human technical capacity. Comprehensive mapping of the financial, logistics, and human resource needs will be articulated in the national operational plan under development. This exercise of developing prioritized operational plans is also being conducted in Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

WHO Disease Outbreaks news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:00
WHO continues to monitor the evolution of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. New cases and deaths attributed to EVD continue to be reported from the three countries. Between 13 – 14 July 2014, 18 new cases and 11 deaths were reported from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. These include suspect, probable, and laboratory-confirmed cases. The occurrence of community deaths, still being reported in Guinea, remains a serious concern. The respective Ministries of Health are working with WHO and its partners to step up outbreak containment measures.

The national authorities in the three affected countries are scaling up outbreak containment measures. In Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Health has established an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) aimed at ensuring effective coordination and accelerating implementation of the EVD outbreak response. The EOC is chaired by the Minister of Health and co-chaired by the WHO Representative for Sierra Leone, with members including heads of the different sub-committees of the task force, other senior staff, and key partners. The EOC will oversee the development of the prioritized operational plan in line with the Accra inter-country strategy, ensure that priority interventions are implemented as planned, and streamline communication and information flow.

Update on polio in Equatorial Guinea

WHO Disease Outbreaks news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:00
As of 16 July 2014, Equatorial Guinea has reported a total of 5 wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases, with onset of paralysis between 28 January 2014 (first case) and 3 May 2014 (most recent case). Genetic sequencing indicated that the cases are linked to the ongoing outbreak in Cameroon.

A national emergency action plan to respond to the polio outbreak was developed by the Ministry of Health and polio partner agencies and is being implemented. Three nationwide campaigns with bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) have already been conducted in the country - two campaigns targeting children under 15 years old in April 2014 and early May 2014, and one in late May 2014 targeting children under 5 years old. Two nationwide bOPV campaigns are planned for mid-July 2014 and mid-August 2014; the July 2014 round will target the entire population, and the August 2014 round will target children under 15 years old.

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

WHO Disease Outbreaks news - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 06:00
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 8 – 12 July 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 8 – 12 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, 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 15 July 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.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – update

WHO Disease Outbreaks news - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 20:15
On 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10 July 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for Saudi Arabia reported an additional 7 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and the death of a previously reported case.

A 55-year-old woman from Addawaser City, Riyadh Region who became ill on 25 June, was admitted to a hospital on 2 July and is currently in a stable condition. She was laboratory-confirmed with MERS-CoV infection on 3 July. She is reported to have an underlying medical condition. The patient’s husband owns a camel farm which she visits frequently. She is reported not to have consumed raw camel products in the 14 days prior to becoming ill. She is reported not to have contact with a previously laboratory-confirmed case with MERS-CoV infection. On 15 June, she travelled to Riyadh City where she stayed for a day.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – update (United Arab Emirates)

WHO Disease Outbreaks news - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 20:15
On 10 July 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported 2 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

A 67-year-old man from Abu Dhabi, UAE who became ill on 17 June and was admitted to a hospital on the same day. On 2 July 2014, the patient was critically ill and was admitted to the intensive care unit in a hospital in Abu Dhabi. He was laboratory-confirmed with MERS-CoV infection on 6 July. The patient is reported to have underlying medical conditions. The patient owns a camel farm in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia. He visited his farm 3 months prior to becoming ill and had direct contact with camels. Two weeks prior to becoming ill, he visited a camel farm in Abu Dhabi, where he did not have direct contact with camels. He does not have a history of contact with a previously laboratory-confirmed case with MERS-CoV infection and does not have a history of recent travel. Investigation of the camel farm in Abu Dhabi, and follow up of contacts of the patient are currently on-going.

Podcast: Quiet Moment around the Campfire

Byron Breedlove reads his essay, "Quiet Moment around the Campfire," about the art of Frederic Remington and the transmission of pathogens as frontiers expand.

July 2014 Issue Now Online

A new issue of the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal is available on the journal website.
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