We begin in Liberia, where three new cases have been reported in a country declared free of the disease just weeks ago.
From the Associated Press:
Three new Ebola cases have been confirmed in Liberia, a health official said Friday, more than two months after the West African nation was declared Ebola-free for a second time.
It is a setback for Liberia, one of the three countries hit hardest by the worst Ebola outbreak in history. The country has recorded more than 10,600 cases and more than 4,800 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. More than 11,300 deaths have been recorded for the entire outbreak, which was concentrated in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to WHO.
Liberia was first declared Ebola-free on May 9, but new cases emerged in June resulting in two deaths. WHO declared the country Ebola-free again on Sept. 3
More from Reuters:
The first of the new patients was a 10-year-old boy who lived with his parents and three siblings in Paynesville, a suburb east of the capital Monrovia, said Minister of Health Minister Bernice Dahn. Two direct family members have also since tested positive, officials said.
All six family members, as well as other high risk contacts, are in care at an Ebola Treatment Unit in Paynesville, she said.
“The hospital is currently decontaminating the unit. All of the healthcare workers who came into contact with the patient have been notified,” she told a news conference.
And now comes a clear warning that West Africa and the world aren’t ready for another major outbreak.
The world is no better prepared for the next global health emergency than it was when the current Ebola epidemic began nearly two years ago, an expert panel warns.
The problems that led to the deaths of more than 11,000 people in history’s worst Ebola outbreak have not been solved, a group of 20 physicians, global health experts, lawyers and development and humanitarian experts convened by Harvard University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) warn in a paper published on 22 November by The Lancet1. Meanwhile, the outbreak stubbornly hangs on: on 20 November, hopes that it might be declared over by year’s end were dashed by reports of new infections in Liberia, which has twice been declared Ebola-free.
“We’re closer, but we’re not yet ready for another outbreak of this magnitude,” says epidemiologist David Heymann at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a member of the commission that produced the report.
More on the report from the London school via EurekaAlert:
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan) and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “People at WHO were aware that there was an Ebola outbreak that was getting out of control by spring…and yet, it took until August to declare a public health emergency. The cost of the delay was enormous,” said Jha.
The report’s 10 recommendations provide a roadmap to strengthen the global system for outbreak prevention and response:
- Develop a global strategy to invest in, monitor and sustain national core capacities
- Strengthen incentives for early reporting of outbreaks and science-based justifications for trade and travel restrictions
- Create a unified WHO Center with clear responsibility, adequate capacity, and strong lines of accountability for outbreak response
- Broaden responsibility for emergency declarations to a transparent, politically-protected Standing Emergency Committee
- Institutionalise accountability through an independent commission for disease outbreak prevention and response
- Develop a framework of rules to enable, govern and ensure access to the benefits of research
- Establish a global fund to finance, accelerate and prioritise R&D
- Sustain high-level political attention through a Global Health Committee of the Security Council
- A new deal for a more focused, appropriately-financed WHO
- Good governance of WHO through decisive, timebound reform and assertive leadership
The Harvard and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine teams felt strongly that an independent analysis from academic and civil society voices should inform the public debate, in addition to other planned official reviews of the global response.
According to Liberian Panel member Mosoka Fallah, Ph.D., MPH, of Action Contre La Faim International (ACF). “The human misery and deaths from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa demand a team of independent thinkers to serve as a mirror of reflection on how and why the global response to the greatest Ebola calamity in human history was late, feeble and uncoordinated. The threats of infectious disease anywhere is the threat of infectious disease everywhere,” Fallah said. “The world has become one big village.”