The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that if the current intensity of case detection and contact tracing is sustained, the Ebola virus can be soundly defeated by the end of this year.
The WHO director-general, Dr. Margaret Chan, said this in New York yesterday, while briefing the United Nations Security Council on the Ebola situation in Africa.
She said that the generous surge of support by the international community had an impact on the successes recorded so far.
Chan said, “Surveillance and response capacities have vastly improved. We have a very good picture of current chains of transmission, and know how to break them. Full genome sequencing of viruses can be done within 48 hours of case detection, yielding clues for the detective work of tracing the origins of each and every single case.”
She stated that new cases in Liberia have again stopped while Guinea and Sierra Leone have together reported only three cases during each of the past two weeks, representing the lowest numbers seen in well over a year.
She noted, “This is a night-and-day difference from the situation less than a year ago. I can assure you, the progress is real, and it has been hard-earned”.
“Most credit for this progress goes to unwavering leadership at the highest level of government. At the same time, I must caution against a false sense of security. All it takes is a single undetected case in a health facility, one infected contact fleeing the monitoring system, or one unsafe burial to ignite a flare-up of cases.
“Further setbacks, such as the one experienced by Liberia at the end of June, can be expected. We are grateful to the government for reporting that event immediately and mounting such an impressive response.’’