The number of new cases continues to drop in all three hard hit West African nations, with Sierra Leone still seeing the worst of it, according to the latest update from the World Health Organization. While a couple of months ago we were seeing nearly a thousand new cases a week, this past week only produced 145.
Despite these welcome downward trends, the horrendous toll of this epidemic continues to grow, with more than 21,000 cases reported – 8,600 deaths – and more than 800 HCW infections.
Follow the link below to either read, or download, the full report.
21 January 2015interactive map journal that shows the evolution of the outbreak and the global response.
Case incidence continues to fall in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, with a halving time of 1.4 weeks in Guinea, 2.0 weeks Liberia, and 2.7 weeks in Sierra Leone. A combined total of 145 confirmed cases were reported from the 3 countries in the week to 18 January: 20 in Guinea, 8 in Liberia, and 117 in Sierra Leone.
Mali has been declared free of Ebola virus disease (EVD) after completing 42 days since the last case tested negative for EVD.
Surveillance and information sharing will be increased in the border districts of Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal adjacent to the 3 intense-transmission countries.
Each of the intense-transmission countries has sufficient capacity to isolate and treat patients, with more than 2 treatment beds per reported confirmed, probable and suspected case. The planned numbers of beds in each country has now been reduced in accordance with falling case incidence.
Similarly, each country has sufficient capacity to bury all people known to have died from EVD.
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone report that between 89% and 99% of registered contacts are monitored each day, though the number of contacts traced per EVD case remains lower than expected in many districts. In the week to 11 January, 53% of new confirmed cases in Guinea arose from known contacts; in the period between 1 January and 15 January, 53% of new confirmed cases in Liberia arose from known contacts. Equivalent data are not yet available for Sierra Leone.
There are currently 27 laboratories providing case-confirmation services in the 3 intense-transmission countries. Five more laboratories are planned in order to meet demand. The mean time between sample collection to sample testing in the 21 days to 18 January was 1.37 days in Guinea, 2.03 days in Liberia, and 2.32 days in Sierra Leone, although several districts in Guinea have yet to report data.
Case fatality among hospitalized patients (calculated from all hospitalized patients with a reported definitive outcome) is between 57% and 59% in the 3 intense-transmission countries, with no detectable improvement since the onset of the epidemic.
A total of 828 health worker infections have been reported in the 3 intense-transmission countries; there have been 499 reported deaths. The incidence of health worker infections has fallen in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but rose in Guinea throughout December.
As an indication of community engagement, 71% of districts in Guinea and 100% of districts in Sierra Leone have a list of key religious leaders who promote safe and dignified burials. No data are available for Liberia. Incidents of community resistance to safe burials and contact tracing continue to be reported in all 3 countries, although they are most common in Guinea.