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Epidemiological update: outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa

14 Aug 2014
On 8 August, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) evolving in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Since December 2013 and as of 11 August, 1 975 cases of EVD, including 1 069 deaths have been reported, making this EVD outbreak the worst recorded in terms of geographical spread and number of cases and deaths reported.

On 11 August, a WHO panel reached consensus ”that it is ethical to offer unproven interventions with as yet unknown efficacy and adverse effects, as potential treatment or prevention”.

The outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa continues to spread at an alarming pace. New cases are reported in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and more recently in Nigeria. Since the epidemiological update of 8 August 2014, a 15% increase in number of EVD cases was observed, corresponding to 264 new EVD cases including 137 deaths from the four countries.

On 14 August 2014, WHO issued a statement that “Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.”
 

Figure 1: Weekly number of EVD cases in West Africa (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria) from start of the outbreak to 11/08/2014* 

Source: adapted from WHO (Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update)

*Data for week 33 2014 are incomplete.


In the four countries, cases are also reported in large cities (i.e. Conakry, Freetown, Monrovia and Lagos).
 
As of 7 August, medical evacuations of EVD sick patients were performed to USA (two patients) and Spain (one patient). The evacuated patient in Spain died on 12 August 2014.
Table: Overview of EVD cases (confirmed, probable and suspected) and deaths in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria (as of 11 August 2014)
Country Number of cases Number of confirmed cases Number of deaths
Guinea 510 369 377
Sierra Leone 783 166 334
Liberia 670 706 355
Nigeria 12* 10 3
Total 1975 1251 1069
 

*After additional laboratory testing, the case count in Nigeria has been adjusted from 13 to 12.

Source: Adapted from WHO (Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update), 13 August 2014

Figure 2: Epidemic curves by week of EVD in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone (as of 11 August 2014*)



Source: Adapted from WHO (Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update)

*Data for the week 33 2014 are incomplete.


As of 14 August, several countries including eighteen European countries (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden) have issued a travel advice to their citizens.
 
The outbreak is rapidly evolving with a noticeable increase of cases in the last month. WHO and international organisations are closely supporting the ministries of health of the affected countries in their EVD prevention, contract tracing, health care and control related activities.
 
ECDC continues to monitor the situation closely.
 

 
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