Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update 8 August 2014

Print

Epidemiology and surveillance

Between 5 and 6 August 2014, a total of 68 new cases of Ebola virus disease (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 29 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

Health sector response

On Wednesday, 6 August and Thursday, 7 August, an Emergency Committee was held via teleconference to determine whether the current outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. After discussion and deliberation on the information provided, the Committee advised that:

  • the Ebola outbreak in West Africa constitutes an ‘extraordinary event’ and a public health risk to other States;
  • the possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries.
  • a coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola.

It was the unanimous view of the Committee that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) have been met.

On Friday, 8 August, the Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, gave a press briefing to the international media from WHO Headquarters. Dr Chan will give an additional briefing on the situation of the outbreak and the ongoing response in the region to the Permanent and Observer Missions to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva on Tuesday, 12 August. Permanent Representatives of the affected countries have been invited to speak on behalf of their respective Governments on the national Ebola response and priorities.

On Monday, 11 August, WHO will convene a panel of medical ethics experts to begin looking at the use of experimental treatments in the ongoing EVD outbreak in West Africa. At this time, there are no registered medicines or vaccines against this deadly virus; several experimental options are currently under development, though. The recent treatment of two health workers from US faith-based aid organizations has raised questions about whether medicines that have never been tested or shown to be safe in humans should be used in outbreak situations. In the case of Ebola, supplies are extremely limited, which then raises questions about who should receive it, if it’s used.

Disease update

New cases and deaths attributable to EVD continue to be reported by the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Between 5 and 6 August 2014, 68 new cases (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) of EVD and 29 deaths were reported from the four countries as follows: Guinea, 0 new cases and 4 deaths; Liberia, 38 new cases and 12 deaths; Nigeria, 4 new cases and 1 death; and Sierra Leone, 26 new cases and 12 deaths.

As of 6 August 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the four countries stands at 1 779, including 961 deaths. The distribution and classification of the cases are as follows: Guinea, 495 cases (355 confirmed, 133 probable, and 7 suspected), including 367 deaths; Liberia, 554 cases (148 confirmed, 274 probable, and 132 suspected), including 294 deaths; Nigeria, 13 cases (0 confirmed, 7 probable, and 6 suspected), including 2 deaths; and Sierra Leone, 717 cases (631 confirmed, 38 probable, and 48 suspected), including 298 deaths.

Confirmed, probable, and suspect cases and deaths from Ebola virus disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, as of 6 August 2014

 

New 1
Confirmed
Probable
Suspect
Totals
(by Country)
Guinea
 
 
 
 
 
Cases
0
355
133
7
495
Deaths
4
231
133
3
367
Liberia
 
 
 
 
 
Cases
38
148
274
132
554
Deaths
12
132
117
45
294
Nigeria
 
 
 
 
 
Cases
4
0
7
6
13
Deaths
1
0
2
0
2
Sierra Leone
 
 
 
 
 
Cases
26
631
38
48
717
Deaths
12
259
34
5
298
Totals
 
 
 
 
 
Cases
68
1 134
452
193
1 779
Deaths
29
622
286
53
961
1. New cases were reported between 5 and 6 August 2014.
 
 

The total number of cases is subject to change due to ongoing reclassification, retrospective investigation, and availability of laboratory results. Data reported in the Disease Outbreak News are based on official information reported by Ministries of Health.

Related links:

WHO Statement on the Meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee Regarding the 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa