EBOLA/EVD [to 10 January 2015]

EBOLA/EVD [to 10 January 2015]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC); “Threat to international peace and security” (UN Security Council)

Editor’s Note:
Our extensive coverage of Ebola/EVD activity continues – including detailed coverage of UNMEER now available at the end of this digest and other INGO/agency activity reported in the relevant sections below. Please also note that many of the journals we cover continue to publish important EVD content which is threaded throughout this edition.

Important this week was a milestone WHO meeting on EVD vaccine candidates and new clinical trials to begin in the most affected countries shortly as reported below.

We also note that the WHO Situation Report below clarifies that the “100% goals” for 1 January 2015 were not met. We are not aware that these goals (or revised/additional goals) with a new date target have been announced.

Ban Ki-moon on his priorities for 2015 – General Assembly, Informal meeting of the plenary – 8 Jan 2014
– Video: http://webtv.un.org/watch/ban-ki-moon-on-his-priorities-for-2015-general-assembly-informal-meeting-of-the-plenary/3978253934001
– Text: http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=8312
Excerpt on Ebola

…The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has been a human tragedy and a setback for development in the hardest hit countries, and has highlighted the need for global vigilance and solidarity.

I thank the General Assembly for its unprecedentedly rapid action to establish UNMEER, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response. The affected countries are beginning to see some improvements, thanks to their own mobilization and global support. Mali has made progress in controlling the virus, and we hope that Mali will be declared Ebola-free this month.

I have been especially moved by the deployment of health workers from many African countries and other parts of the world. But, Excellencies, we are still short of people and resources. As we strive to fill those gaps, we also need to address the wider impacts and to meet recovery needs.

We must also prepare for any possible new epidemic, wherever it may occur. Strengthening national health systems is a priority. International rapid response capacities must be improved. In that regard, I support the efforts of the World Health Organization led by Dr. Margaret Chan, to begin work on the way forward….

WHO: Ebola response roadmap – Situation report 7 January 2015
:: Reported case incidence continues to fluctuate in Guinea, with no identifiable downward trend. Ebola virus disease (EVD) continues to spread geographically within the country, with the prefecture of Fria reporting 2 confirmed cases for the first time. Case incidence has declined to low levels in Liberia. There are signs that incidence has levelled off in Sierra Leone, although transmission remains intense in the west of the country.

:: The UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) set twin targets of isolating and treating 100% of EVD cases, and conducting 100% of burials safely and with dignity by 1 January, 2015, in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

:: Each of the intense-transmission countries has sufficient capacity to isolate and treat patients, with more than 2 treatment beds per reported confirmed and probable case. However, the uneven geographical distribution of beds and cases, and the under-reporting of cases, means that the UNMEER target of isolating and treating 100% of EVD cases is still not met in some areas. An increasing emphasis will be put on the rapid deployment of smaller treatment facilities to ensure that capacity is matched with demand in each area.

:: Similarly, each country has sufficient capacity to bury all people known to have died from EVD, though the under-reporting of deaths means that the UNMEER target of 100% safe burial was not met.

:: In addition to the two UNMMER targets, there are several other crucial aspects of the response, including rigorous contact tracing, access to laboratory services, and community engagement.

:: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone report that more than 90% of registered contacts are monitored, though the number of contacts traced per EVD case remains lower than expected in many districts. In areas where transmission has been driven down to low levels, rigorous contact tracing will be essential to break chains of transmission.

:: There are currently 23 laboratories providing case-confirmation services in the three intense-transmission countries. Five more laboratories are planned in order to meet demand.

:: Case fatality among hospitalized patients (calculated from all hospitalized patients with a reported definitive outcome) is approximately 60% in the three intense-transmission countries.
:: A total of 820 health-care worker infections have been reported in the intense-transmission countries; there have been 488 deaths.

:: Many elements of the response to the EVD outbreak, from safe burials to contact tracing, rely on actively engaging affected communities to take ownership of the response. UNICEF leads the community engagement arm of the EVD response. At present, 33 of 38 (87%) of districts in Guinea, 100% of districts in Liberia, and 57% (8 of 14) of districts in Sierra Leone have systems in place to monitor community engagement activities.

There have been in excess of 20,000 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of EVD in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (table 1), with more than 8,000 deaths (deaths are under-reported).

A stratified analysis of cumulative confirmed and probable cases indicates that the number of cases in males and females is about the same (table 2).

Compared with children (people aged 14 years and under), people aged 15 to 44 are three times more likely to be affected (33 reported cases per 100 000 population, compared with 98 per 100,000 population). People aged 45 and over (125 reported cases per 100 000 population) are almost four times more likely to be affected than are children.

There have been 26 reported confirmed and probable cases per 100,000 population in Guinea, 206 cases per 100,000 population in Liberia, and 170 cases per 100,000 population in Sierra Leone…