EBOLA/EVD [to 21 February 2015]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC); “Threat to international peace and security” (UN Security Council)
WHO: Ebola Situation Report – 18 February 2015
[Excerpt; Editor’s text bolding]
Total weekly case incidence increased for the second consecutive week, with 144 new confirmed cases reported in the week to 8 February. Guinea reported a sharp increase in incidence, with 65 new confirmed cases compared with 39 the week before. Transmission remains widespread in Sierra Leone, which reported 76 new confirmed cases, while the resurgence in cases in the western district of Port Loko continued for a second week. Liberia continues to report a low number of new confirmed cases.
Despite improvements in case finding and management, burial practices, and community engagement, the decline in case incidence has stalled. The spike in cases in Guinea and continued widespread transmission in Sierra Leone underline the considerable challenges that must still be overcome to get to zero cases. The infrastructure, systems, and people needed to end the epidemic are now in place; response measures must now be fully implemented.
The surge of new confirmed cases reported by Guinea was driven primarily by transmission in the capital, Conakry (21 confirmed cases) and the western prefecture of Forecariah (26 confirmed cases). Community engagement continues to be a challenge in Conakry and Forecariah, and in Guinea more widely. Almost one-third of the country’s EVD-affected prefectures reported at least one security incident in the week to 8 February. Effective contact tracing, which relies on the cooperation of communities, has also proved challenging. In the week to 1 February, just 7 of 42 cases arose among registered contacts. A total of 34 unsafe burials were reported, with 21 EVD-positive deaths reported in the community.
Seven new confirmed cases were reported in the east-Guinean prefecture of Lola. A field team is currently deployed to Côte d’Ivoire to assess the state of preparedness in western areas of the country that border Lola.
Follow-up preparedness missions are planned for Mali and Senegal later this month, culminating in a tri-partite meeting between Guinea, Mali, and Senegal to strengthen cross-border surveillance.
A total of 3 confirmed cases was reported from Liberia. All of the cases originated from the same area of Montserrado county, linked to a single chain of transmission.
Following the steep decline in case incidence in Sierra Leone from December until the end of January, incidence has now stabilized. A total of 76 cases were reported in the week to 8 February, a decrease from the 80 confirmed cases reported in the week to 1 February, but higher than the 65 confirmed cases reported in the week to 25 January. Transmission remains widespread, with 7 districts reporting new confirmed cases. A total of 41 unsafe burials were reported in the week to 8 February.
The case fatality rate among hospitalized cases (calculated from all confirmed and probable hospitalized cases with a reported definitive outcome) remains high, between 53% and 60%.
COUNTRIES WITH WIDESPREAD AND INTENSE TRANSMISSION
There have been almost 23,000 reported confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of EVD in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (table 1), with almost 9000 reported deaths (outcomes for many cases are unknown). A total of 65 new confirmed cases were reported in Guinea, 3 in Liberia, and 76 in Sierra Leone in the 7 days to 8 February (data missing for 8 February in Liberia). At the start of the epidemic many reported suspected cases were genuine cases of EVD. At this stage, with improved surveillance systems in place, a far smaller proportion of suspected cases are confirmed to have EVD. Consequently, the incidence of new confirmed cases gives a more accurate picture of the epidemic.
A stratified analysis of cumulative confirmed and probable cases indicates that the number of cases in males and females is similar (table 2). Compared with children (people aged 14 years and under), people aged 15 to 44 are approximately three times more likely to be affected. People aged 45 and over are almost four times more likely to be affected than are children.
A total of 830 confirmed health worker infections have been reported in the 3 intense-transmission countries; there have been 488 reported deaths…