Via CIDRAP, Lisa Schnirring writes: Ebola developments trigger CDC's highest response level. Excerpt from a concise survey of a long day's news:
With the Ebola virus disease (EVD) situation in Nigeria worsening, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that it has moved its emergency operations center (EOC) to its highest activation level, an action it last took during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.
Meanwhile, countries including the United States and Saudi Arabia are following up on possible infections in travelers, with Spain announcing that it will bring a sick missionary priest in Liberia to Madrid for treatment, according to media reports.
Amid the other developments, the numbers of infections in West African countries hit by the outbreak grew steadily between Aug 2 and 4, with 108 new cases, along with 45 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. The overall totals reached 1,702 cases and 931 deaths.
In addition, a WHO emergency committee today began discussing whether the unfolding disease threat amounts to an international public helath emergency.
CDC invokes top EOC level
The CDC EOC has moved to level 1 activation, reserved for the largest-scale responses that require substantial agency-wide efforts, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told CIDRAP News.
"Our movement to level 1 activation is appropriate, given the significance of this outbreak, the extension to Nigeria, and the potential to affect many lives," he said.
The CDC uses the EOC to monitor and coordinate its response to public health threats that occur in the United States and other countries. Its EOC coordinates CDC staff deployment and manages equipment and supply needs of responders, and can move medications, samples, and personnel within 2 hours for domestic needs and 6 hours for international missions.
The EOC has responded to more than 50 public health threats since it was established in 2001 in the wake of the terrorist and anthrax attacks. Recent examples include activations at lower levels for the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the 2010 earthquake and cholera outbreak in Haiti.