Health
Ebola spread due to 'relaxation' of efforts
Publish Date: Jun 22, 2014
Ebola spread due to 'relaxation' of efforts
A WHO specialist says efforts to contain the deadly Ebola virus in three West Africans have been relaxed. PHOTO/File
  • mail
  • img
newvision

GENEVA - The recent rapid spread of Ebola in three countries in West Africa has come in part because efforts to contain the deadly virus have been relaxed, Pierre Formenty, a World Health Organisation specialist, told AFP on Saturday.

Question: We have around 530 cases of hemorrhagic fever, mostly from the Ebola virus, in the region, compared to 225 at the end of April. How do you explain this leap?

Answer: We have had since March 21, when the epidemic was declared in Guinea, a first wave that has started to diminish. Since the start of May we have had a sort of resurgence with an increase in the number of cases and notably also with an epidemic which has spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia. We are seeing a second wave of cases for West Africa.

How do you explain this new peak?

When the epidemic started, it was a little under-estimated, so that the states took a while to really prepare themselves. At the end of April, we started to see a decrease in the number of cases and we maybe saw a relaxation by the teams in the three countries, and this relaxation allowed things to restart.

In addition, there were some problems with the affected populations which were sometimes not fully listened to.

Were the right measures implemented?

The most important things are monitoring and communication. States are getting better and better but the problems of communication continue. The medical corps on their own cannot stop this epidemic. It is only with the help of the population that we can fight this epidemic and stop it.

What are the specific features of this epidemic?


The epidemic is pretty much identical in the three countries. What's really important in this epidemic is that the majority of cases are cases of human-to-human transmission, by contact, especially during care, but also during funerals because it is particularly when victims are deceased that Ebola is present around the body.

How did the epidemic spread?

The epicentre of this epidemic is in the forested border zone around the town of Gueckedou (in the south of Guinea) and now it has spread to the district of Kailahun in Sierra Leone and the district of Lofa in Liberia. It has been spread most of all by people who travel to Conakry or Monrovia for healthcare.

These people travel a great deal. As soon as they are sick with the symptoms, even if they know that it might be Ebola, they will go see friends in one town or another and that's how the disease spreads.

Why is it important for the authorities and humanitarian agencies to communicate with the populations?

One case can restart an entire epidemic. So these dramatic measures, which are not put in place for other diseases like meningitis or measles, are hard for the populations to understand. In an area where the quality of health services are not optimal, the populations have struggled to understand why we were asking them to make such an effort and probably we have not been able to explain both the disease and the means of control to the populations.

What is the latest assessment of the WHO?

As of June 17, we had 528 cases of Ebola, including confirmed, probable and suspected cases. Included in these 528 cases are 337 dead. All the deaths are confirmed, probable or suspected cases of Ebola.

At the level of the international community, Doctors Without Borders, WHO and other international partners have mobilised 100 to 160 international experts who are on the ground and who are working hard. In Conakry, for patients admitted (to hospital) we have been able to reduce the mortality rate to 40 percent.

AFP


Also related to this story

Mali reports three suspected Ebola cases

Uganda starts Ebola surveillance after outbreak in Guinea

Ebola: profile of a prolific killer

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Can robots help stop the Ebola outbreak?
The US military has enlisted a new germ-killing weapon in the fight against Ebola - a four-wheeled robot that can disinfect a room in minutes with pulses of ultraviolet light....
Carbs more harmful than saturated fats - study
Carbohydrates are linked to heightened levels of a fatty acid linked to increased risk for diabetes and heart disease....
UN warns Ebola still far from over
The head of the UN Ebola mission warns that the world is "far, far away" from beating the deadly outbreak....
Obesity blamed for 5% global deaths
Obesity is blamed for around 5 percent of all deaths worldwide, with nearly 30% of world population overweight....
Queen
Queen Elizabeth II voices concerns that malaria risks being sidelined because of the focus on the Ebola virus....
WB warns of calamity if Ebola lessons ignored
Millions of lives could be lost in a global pandemic if the international community repeats its tardy response to West Africa's Ebola outbreak, WB warns....
Should workers be subjected to a 4% Health Insurance Tax??
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter