The Ebola epidemic that began in West Africa in early 2014 continues today. With more than 27,000 reported Ebola cases and more than 11,000 deaths, the scope has been unprecedented. Equally extraordinary is the scale and duration of the response by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and partners. Today, CDC is releasing a multimedia report describing the experiences of the agency’s Ebola responders.
Since the outbreak began, CDC has sent more than 1,200 experts in various disciplines to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and surrounding countries. Many deployed more than once and also volunteered to return as long as the epidemic persists. Thousands more CDC staff have worked on the response from the agency’s Atlanta headquarters, as well as in hospitals, labs and airports; other CDC campuses in the U.S., and CDC country offices around world.
“The global response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is unprecedented, and hard work by thousands has helped contain the virus in most of the region,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We will never forget either those impacted by this terrible epidemic or the heroic public health professionals who responded.”
The report highlights CDC employees’ work testing blood samples in field laboratories, traveling remote trails and rivers to track case contacts, teaching Ebola prevention strategies in local communities, protecting borders by screening and monitoring travelers, and strengthening hospital infection control practices.
CDC disease detectives continue their work today in the three most affected countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. On May 9, 2015, the World Health Organization declared the end of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, and the number of new cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone has decreased dramatically. However, the recent reports of new cases in Liberia confirms that the world cannot let down its guard.
The ongoing Ebola epidemic demonstrates the importance of worldwide preparation before the next health crisis, whenever or wherever it might be. The CDC’s Global Health Security Agenda calls for systems, policies and procedures to be in place around the world to prevent outbreaks as an essential step toward keeping the world safe and secure from global health threats. To support this goal, CDC has established country offices in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.