WHO convened a meeting with high-ranking government representatives from Ebola-affected countries and development partners, civil society, regulatory agencies, vaccine manufacturers and funding agencies yesterday to discuss and agree on how to fast track testing and deployment of vaccines in sufficient numbers to impact the Ebola epidemic.
WHO was called upon by all parties to ensure coordination between the various actors.
Mali’s Ministry of Health has confirmed the country’s first case of Ebola virus disease. The Ministry received positive laboratory results, from PCR testing, on Thursday and informed WHO immediately. In line with standard procedures, samples are being sent to a WHO-approved laboratory for further testing and diagnostic work.
In telephone conversation on Thursday night, health officials gave WHO the following details about the case, which is currently undergoing intense investigation.
On 21 October 2014, WHO was notified by the National IHR Focal Point for France of 4 cases of chikungunya locally-acquired infection in Montpellier, France. The cases were confirmed by tests conducted by the French National Reference Laboratory for arboviruses on 20 October 2014. This is the first time that locally-acquired transmission of chikungunya has been detected in France since 2010.
The 4 cases of chikungunya infection occurred within the same family, with symptoms onset between 20 September and 12 October. The cases live in Montpellier in the vicinity of a chikungunya case imported from Cameroon. The cases have no history of travel out of their district of residence in the 15 days prior to the onset of symptoms.
The third meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the IHR 2005 regarding the 2014 Ebola virus disease (EVD, or “Ebola”) outbreak in West Africa was conducted with members and advisors of the Emergency Committee on Wednesday, 22 October 2014, from 13:00 to 17:10 CET.
This meeting was convened in advance of the 3-month date of the expiration of the temporary recommendations issued on 8 August 2014 and their extension on 22 September 2014, owing to the increase in numbers of cases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and the new exportation of cases resulting in limited transmission in Spain and United States of America.
A high-level emergency meeting, convened by WHO at the request of several governments and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, was held on 23 October to look at the many complex policy issues that surround eventual access to experimental Ebola vaccines.
Ways to ensure the fair distribution and financing of these vaccines were discussed in an atmosphere characterized by a high sense of urgency. This sense of urgency was conveyed in many ways – from plans for the different phases of clinical trials to be performed concurrently rather than consecutively, to suggested partnerships for expediting clinical trials, to proposals for getting all development partners moving in tandem and at the same accelerated pace.
Recent intensive efforts to improve collection and reporting of data on tuberculosis (TB) are shedding new light on the epidemic, revealing that there are almost half a million more cases of the disease than previously estimated. WHO’s "Global Tuberculosis Report 2014", published today, shows that 9 million people developed TB in 2013, and 1.5 million died, including 360 000 people who were HIV positive.
The report stresses, however, that the mortality rate from TB is still falling and has dropped by 45% since 1990, while the number of people developing the disease is declining by an average 1.5% a year. An estimated 37 million lives have been saved through effective diagnosis and treatment of TB since 2000.
The Ebola virus was introduced into Nigeria on 20 July when an infected Liberian man arrived by aeroplane into Lagos, Africa's most populous city. The man, who died in hospital 5 days later, set off a chain of transmission that infected a total of 19 people, of whom 7 died.
According to WHO recommendations, the end of an Ebola virus disease outbreak in a country can be declared once 42 days have passed and no new cases have been detected. The 42 days represents twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola (21 days). This 42-day period starts from the last day that any person in the country had contact with a confirmed or probable Ebola case.
The lines on the tabular situation reports, sent to WHO each day by its country office in Nigeria, have now been full of zeros for 42 days.
WHO officially declares that Nigeria is now free of Ebola virus transmission.
Mr Chairman, honourable ministers, distinguished delegates, Dr Alwan, ladies and gentlemen,
This is not an easy time for the world, not for any country in any WHO region. Think about the headlines on nearly any given day.
A WHO internal document recently obtained by some media outlets was the first draft of a small team documenting the chronology of the Ebola outbreak events for future review. This document has not yet been fact-checked or reviewed by WHO staff involved in the initial response to Ebola, and is part of an on-going analysis of our response.
WHO will not do interviews or explain details on this document until it is completed. WHO believes in transparency and accountability and will release this review when it is fact-checked. For now, WHO's focus is to obtain the resources needed to successfully fight this Ebola outbreak.
The sixth session of the Conference of the parties (COP6) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) concluded today in Moscow. Several landmark decisions were adopted in the course of the six-day session, regarded as one of the most successful in the WHO FCTC’s history.
In her opening speech, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said that “as implementation of the Framework Convention reaches new heights, the tobacco industry fights back, harder and through every possible channel, no matter how devious those channels and practices are.”
WHO officially declares the Ebola outbreak in Senegal over and commends the country on its diligence to end the transmission of the virus.
The introduced case was confirmed on 29 August in a young man who had travelled to Dakar, by road, from Guinea, where he had had direct contact with an Ebola patient.
Forty-two days have now passed since the last contact of Senegal’s single confirmed case of Ebola virus disease completed the requisite 21-day monitoring period, under medical supervision, developed no symptoms, and tested negative for the virus.
WHO officially declares Senegal free of Ebola virus transmission.
Not quite yet.
If the active surveillance for new cases that is currently in place continues, and no new cases are detected, WHO will declare the end of the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Senegal on Friday 17 October. Likewise, Nigeria is expected to have passed through the requisite 42 days, with active surveillance for new cases in place and none detected, on Monday 20 October.
Thank you, Professor Chang-jin Moon, President of COP6. Thank you also, Minister Veronkia Skvortsova, my dear sister.
Honourable ministers, distinguished delegates, colleagues and friends in public health and in the UN. I see many old friends in the audience. So good to see so many of you.
Mr Chairman, Excellencies, honourable ministers, distinguished delegates, Dr Shin, ladies and gentlemen,
The Director-General sends you her best wishes for a productive session. She is fully occupied with coordinating the international response to what is unquestionably the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times.
On 5 October 2014, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Uganda notified WHO of a confirmed case of Marburg virus disease (MVD) in Kampala, Uganda.
The confirmed case was a healthcare worker who had onset of disease on 11 September 2014 while working at Mengo Hospital, Kampala. The case presented to Mpigi District Health Center on 17 September 2014, and transferred to Mengo Hospital, Kampala, on 23 September 2014. On admission the case presented with symptoms including fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea and died on 28 September 2014.
On 6 October 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of the first confirmed autochthonous case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Spain. This case represents the first human-to-human transmission of EVD outside Africa.
The case is a female healthcare worker with no travel history to West Africa but who participated in the medical care of an EVD case in a Spanish citizen, who had been infected in Sierra Leone and evacuated to Madrid, Spain on 22 September 2014 and who died on 25 September 2014. She was in contact with the repatriated EVD case twice; on 24 and 25 September 2014. On both occasions she is reported to have worn appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).