Update on Ebola Virus Disease OutbreakUpdate on Ebola Virus Outbreak in West Africa
23-09-2015 SITUATION UPDATE
Since March 2014, there have been a total of 28,220 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola reported in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, with 11,291 reported deaths.
This week, heavy flooding has left thousands of people homeless across parts of Sierra Leone, and contaminated water sources, raising concerns about a cholera outbreak, all while the country records setbacks in its efforts to become Ebola-free. The Sierra Leone Red Cross Society is continuing to share Ebola messaging and screening while also responding to the needs of the flood-affected, and the IFRC has issued an appeal to support 2,630 people.
As of 13 September, Guinea had gone 12 days without a confirmed case, the first time this has happened in more than one year. However, 23 contacts have been lost to follow-up, at least one of whom is considered high-risk. 241 contacts were being monitored as of 13 September in Conakry and Dubreka, down from 292 contacts the previous week. Safe and dignified burial teams remain on standby to scale-up should there be a resurgence of new confirmed cases.
Sierra Leone reported five new confirmed cases; four cases were high-risk contacts associated with a transmission chain from Kambia. There was a new case reported in the central district of Bombali, the first in the district in more than five months. A 16-year-old girl was symptomatic in the community for several days before being admitted to a treatment centre. The origin of the infection is not yet known.
844 contacts have been identified in connection with the Kambia cases. The majority are considered low-risk; 40 high-risk contacts are being monitored closely. One high-risk contact has been lost to follow-up.
In Bombali, more than 600 contacts have been identified, 18 of whom are high-risk.
Liberia was declared Ebola-free 3 September and is now in a 90-day period of heightened surveillance. The Ebola treatment centre in Kono will continue until November 2015.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)has revised its Ebola emergency appeals to include early recovery activities, while continuing to focus on stopping the epidemic. The appeals aim to reach close to 23 million people across the three countries through 2017. The ultimate goal is to re-establish the conditions for a quick return to a healthy society, with viable livelihoods, psychosocial well-being, economic growth, and overall human development that can foster a more inclusive society in the future. The immediate priority is to end the epidemic, and address the adverse conditions that enabled a localized epidemic to escalate into a national crisis with regional and global ramifications.
During the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, more than 55 Red Cross teams have been conducting half of all safe and dignified burials. It is a job with a lot of stress and stigma. Volunteers have now been trained on how to identify the psychological needs of a team member to ensure they can cope with what they are experiencing. Once identified, psychological first aid is provided immediately or, if needed, following an emergency. It is a practice that will continue post-Ebola to help team members return to normal life.