CDC ramps up response to West African Ebola outbreak

Aug. 8, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is increasing its ongoing efforts to curb the expanding West African Ebola outbreak and deploying staff to the four African nations currently affected: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria. CDC will be sending 50 additional disease control experts to the four nations within 30 days. At its headquarters in Atlanta, CDC has more than 200 staff members dedicated to the outbreak. A sustained, agency-wide response will continue until the outbreak is under control, an effort expected to take three to six months.

In West Africa, CDC disease detectives are directing efforts to pinpoint cases and contacts using a new tool developed at CDC. This Epi Info viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) application speeds up one of the most difficult parts of disease detection: finding everyone exposed to the virus. Other CDC experts will educate the general public about how to avoid Ebola infection; ensure that healthcare personnel strictly follow protocols that protect them against infection; strengthen laboratory aspects of the response; and improve communications among all stakeholders—the public, patients and their families, healthcare workers, governments and non-government organizations, and the media.

“The bottom line with Ebola is we know how to stop it: traditional public health. Find patients, isolate and care for them; find their contacts; educate people; and strictly follow infection control in hospitals. Do those things with meticulous care, and Ebola goes away,” says CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “To keep America safe, healthcare workers should isolate and evaluate people who have returned from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in the past 21 days and have fever or other symptoms suggestive of Ebola. We will save lives in West Africa and protect ourselves at home by stopping Ebola at the source.” Learn more about the Epi Info VHF application.

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