WHO publishes series of reports analyzing Ebola epidemic in West Africa

Jan. 19, 2015

One year after the first Ebola cases started to surface in Guinea, WHO has published a series of 14 papers that take an in-depth look at West Africa’s first epidemic of Ebola virus disease. The papers explore reasons why the disease evaded detection for several months and the factors, many specific to West Africa, that fuelled its subsequent spread.

The most extensive papers trace events in each of the three most severely affected countries—Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. These countries shared many common challenges, shaped by geography, culture, and poverty, but each also faced, addressed, and sometimes solved unique problems.

Other reports in the series provide insight into:

  • how the fast-track development of Ebola vaccines, treatments, and rapid diagnostic tests is progressing, with no compromise of safety and efficacy standards
  • how Senegal, Nigeria, and probably Mali managed to contain imported cases and bring their own outbreaks under control
  • the state of worldwide vigilance and preparedness, especially in countries targeted by WHO as being at greatest risk of an imported case.

The series looks back at WHO’s responses over the past 12 months, including its August 9 declaration of an international health emergency. It documents the many challenges faced by countries and the international community in dealing with the largest, longest, most severe, and most complex Ebola outbreak in history.

The report also looks ahead. Based on what was learned during the previous year, what critical strategies and interventions will give countries and their partners the best chance of bringing the outbreaks under control.

Read the reports at the WHO website