bola cases in West Africa have climbed to 5,300, and more than 2,600 have died, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The situation is “bad and getting worse,” said Stephan Monroe, Ph.D., deputy director of the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, in a conference call Sept. 19. “We know what to do, we just have to figure out how to apply it to the current situation.”
Any delay, he added, means more people infected and more difficulty in bringing the outbreak under control.
Four goals were outlined by President Obama earlier this week: controlling the outbreak itself; addressing ripple effects, such as food shortages and deterioration of the health care systems in the affected countries; helping coordinate the overall global response; and building capacity in the countries to handle future situations.
During the call, CDC expert Athalia Christie, deputy, Center for Global Health, described bleak experiences based on a recent five-week trip to Liberia where she served as part of the Disaster Assistance Response Team. In early August, the number of Ebola cases doubled every 15 to 20 days. Beds filled as fast as they could build them. In September, sick patients still were being turned away. “We need to change the trajectory of the outbreak and urgently accelerate the response,” she said.
The CDC is coordinating with the health ministries of the affected countries, the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontiéres, agencies from across the U.S. government and other regional and international partners to provide epidemiologic, health communications and laboratory support to interrupt and mitigate the current Ebola virus transmission in West Africa.
Additional needs discussed during the call include staffing and training help, as well as supply, transportation, building and logistic support and management.
The CDC also is working with clinicians and health partners on logistics in the event of an imported U.S. case. An epidemiology team is coordinating with local health departments on the testing of any travelers who returned from region. Of 12 travelers tested to date, all were negative for the virus.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has compiled a page of resources on Ebola athttp://bit.ly/1v0xJHy.