The first case of Ebola has been confirmed in Senegal, a major hub for the business and aid community in West Africa, Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck told a news conference on Friday.
The minister said the case was a Guinean national who had arrived from the neighbouring West African country, where the deadly virus was first detected in March.
This comes as the United Nations World Health Organization issued a roadmap that aims to stop Ebola transmissions within six to nine months, but acknowledges the actual number of cases may be much higher than that currently reported and the total caseload could exceed 20,000 over the course of the emergency.
Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General for Polio, Emergencies and Country Collaboration, told a news conference in Geneva: “What we are seeing today in contrast to previous Ebola outbreaks [are] multiple hotspots within these countries, not a single remote forested area, the kind of environments in which it has been tackled in the past. And then not just multiple hotspots within one country, but international disease, and it is now, as you know, really a multinational effort, three countries, heavily affected.”
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According to the Ebola response roadmap launched by Dr. Aylward, the key milestones are to “reverse the trend in new cases and infected areas within three months, stop transmission in capital cities and major ports, and stop all residual transmission with 6 to 9 months.”
The latest official number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone stands at 3,069, with over 1,552 deaths, making this the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded, WHO says. An unprecedented number of health care workers have also been infected and died due to this outbreak.
According to the latest West African update, “the overall case fatality rate is 52 per cent. It ranges from 42 per cent in Sierra Leone to 66 per cent in Guinea.” A separate outbreak of Ebola virus disease, which is not related to the outbreak in West Africa, was laboratory-confirmed on 26 August in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The roadmap “responds to the urgent need to dramatically scale up the international response,” WHO said in a statement. “Nearly 40 per cent of the total number of reported cases have occurred within the past three weeks.”