Ebola: Good news

Sunday, 25 January, 2015

Good news: 1) Mali declared free of Ebola on 18 January; 2) incidence is falling in all three countries with widespread transmission (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone); 3) Key performance indicators are improving in all countries. In particular there are now sufficient Ebola Treatment Centre beds to isolate each Ebola case and the proportion of contacts followed up daily has risen markedly, being over 95% in Liberia and Sierra Leone and almost 90% in Guinea. But - this is not the time to relax!

No news yet on successful rendomised controlled treatment or vaccine trials.

Bartsch et al (2015) estimated the cost of Ebola cases in the three West African countries. The cost of a single Ebola case to the society depends on outcome: with full recovery cost ranges from $480 to $912, while that of an EVD case not surviving ranges from $5,929 to $18, 929, varying by age and country. Therefore, as of 10 December 2014, they estimated that the total societal costs of all reported EVD cases in these three countries range from $82 million to over $356 million. To put the cost estimates into context Bartsch et al (2015) compare the to-date cost of the current epidemic in Liberia alone: their cost estimates of $143–$155 million outstrip the allocated annual health budget of Liberia ($49 million for 2011–2012) by 200%. Donor support is essential to control this outbreak.

The latest WHO Ebola Roadmap Situation Report (21 January) gave overall case numbers of 21,724 with 8,641 deaths. In cases with a documented outcome, the case fatality rate is still very high at 57-59%. Sadly, health care workers are still being infected: a total of 828 so far with 60% dying.


Bartsch SM, Gorham K, Lee BY. The cost of an Ebola case. Pathogens and Global Health 2015:2047773214Y0000000169. [Epub ahead of print]
WHO. Ebola Situation Report: 21 January 2015 Available at http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/situation-reports/en/

Picture - Special Representative and Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed (right), speaks with staff at the Ebola treatment centre (ETC) in Bamako, Mali. Photo: UNMEER/Pierre Péron http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49874#.VMSmzi7mz_8

Posted by Rick Speare