Outbreak Continues to Ebb
Fewer than 100 new confirmed cases of Ebola were reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone last week, which is the first time new case rates were at such a low level since last June (Outbreak News Today). Liberian health officials stated there are only five Ebola cases in the country (Scientific American), and the government is closing the Ebola Treatment Centre in Lofa County, which was once the epicenter of the virus, because the center has seen no new cases for over 70 days (Medical Xpress).
Cases, Deaths and Locations
As of January 29 the totals, including cases in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom stand at 22,136 with 8,833 deaths (CDC).
The Last Mile
While encouraging news increases, complacency could be tragic. The WHO noted that although West Africa is seeing significant declines in Ebola cases, “only about half of new cases in both Guinea and Liberia are from known Ebola contacts, while in Sierra Leone there is no data available,” and Doctors Without Borders stresses the potential danger of these unknown sources reigniting an outbreak (Doctors Without Borders).
WHO Director-general Dr. Margaret Chan admitted that the Ebola outbreak overwhelmed her organization’s capacity, and after the executive board unanimously adopted a resolution for major reforms, WHO has promised to create a contingency fund and an emergency workforce to more quickly respond to crises (Mail & Guardian). The African Union also plans to announce the launch of an Ebola Solidarity Fund to be better prepared for future outbreaks (Devex).
As West Africa transitions from emergency response to recovery, so will Africare’s work. We are pleased to say this will be the last Ebola weekly update. We will certainly continue sharing updates on Africare projects in the region and any important news at it arises. Thanks so much to all our donors who supported our urgent Ebola relief efforts. You have helped save lives. There is much work still to be done to replenish food production, revive businesses, care for orphans, and more. To help West Africans rebuild, please click here to give.