Via ReliefWeb, a report from the IFCR: Guinea: Ebola virus disease outbreak - Emergency appeal n° MDRGN007. Click through to download the full report as a PDF. The summary, and then a little more:
This Emergency Appeal seeks CHF 1,292,372 in cash, kind or services to support the Red Cross Society of Guinea to assist over 3 million persons in At-risk communities in Guéckédou, Macenta and Kissidougou prefectures for 6 months.
Guinea recorded early this year 134 suspected cases of febrile illness and 84 deaths (including 34 community deaths) in some districts of the Forest Guinea, with a fatality rate of 63 per cent.
Faced with this situation, the health authorities of the N'Zérékoré Administrative Region, together with the Institute of Public Health, Infectious Diseases University Hospital, WHO and MSF worked together to confirm the nature of this unusual pathology. On 17 March, 2014, a total of 36 samples were taken, of which 12 were sent to the Laboratory of Lyon (France) for confirmation. The results of these samples were received in Conakry on 21 March, and revealed 6 positive samples, including 3 positive for filo Ebola virus disease (EVD).
Of the 3 cases positive for EVD, 1 case moved to Liberia and all are from the health district Macenta. As a result, the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with its partners, has taken the following steps:
• Provision of free treatment for all patients in the isolation centers.
• Informing populations on individual and collective hygiene.
• Exclusive responsibility for the treatment of the bodies of deceased patients to health personnel and the Red Cross Society of Guinea (RCG) to limit contamination.
• Census of all persons who have had direct contact with the patients who died and those with the signs mentioned above.
• Dissemination of awareness messages in the media (radio, TV, internet).
Here's a passage from the Risk Assessment section of the report:
...Four confirmed cases in health care workers have been identified at a hospital in Pithé, Conakry, and a suspected HCW case at another hospital in Conakry is under investigation. This has the potential of further exacerbating absenteeism in desperately needed case management.
The country has recently had a measles outbreak, has currently a cholera outbreak in the north with a pre-emptive Oral Cholera Vaccine campaign being launched with WHO/MOH, plus the meningitis season is not over yet and will last until the rains in May/June. This means that as the National Society is engaged in all these epidemic responses, their capacity may rapidly reach its limits; a meningitis and/or cholera outbreak are also potential threats to the population and an additional burden to the health sector already decimated by absenteeism.
A key challenge is the approaching seasonal rains anticipated to start in 6-8 weeks, and are likely to make road transport difficult with affected areas becoming more inaccessible.
In addition, the risk of wide scale fear and panic, in Guinea and neighboring countries poses a significant risk. Despite WHO not recommending any trade or travel restrictions Senegal has already tightened border control with several other countries taking precautions such as infra-red scanning at airports. The high rates of fear stigma and general panic that the disease creates not only in the affected populations but also in surrounding areas requires urgent attention. Beneficiary communication is a major component in the inter agency response plan, and needs considerable focus in the Red Cross response as a trusted source of information and a key player in managing the possible impact of panic in the communities.
Following confirmation of 3 EVD cases in Liberia and suspected cases in Sierra Leone, the risk of a regional epidemic is imminent. As initial regional preparednes, the IFRC is supporting National Societies in neighbouring countries (Liberia and Sierra Leone) with the mobilization of PPE, activation of Red Cross volunteer insurance, information and guidance.