Marking two years since launching the longest emergency response in its history, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an account today of its work since 2014 to control Ebola in West Africa, as well as at home.
In a more than 100-page supplement to its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the agency recounts challenges it met with both emergency and sustained responses that included limited capacities in the three most affected countries to detect and prevent the spread of the virus and issues complicating communicatng the threats posed by Ebola in West Africa as well as in the United States .
In addition, it reiterates a point often made by CDC Director Tom Frieden: That in spite of what was already the agency’s largest ever staff deployment, the outbreak threatened a “global catastrophe” when it arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, Africa’s largest and most densely populated city and air travel hub, in June 2014. But the report also recounts how efforts to combat polio had bolstered infectious disease responses and provided the foundation for a surveillance system that reversed the trajectory of the Nigeria’s outbreak, which ended in October 2014.
That event, as well as a detailed recounting of health system gaps in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia when the outbreak began, Frieden writes, underscore the necessity of strengthening infectious diseases prevention, detection and response capacities worldwide, and highlights how the Global Health Security Agenda launched by the agency just months before the outbreak was noted, can protect health at home as well as abroad.
The report is available here.