While the number of new Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases in Guinea was only one in the past week, the World Health Organization (WHO) says the epidemic trend in Liberia and Sierra Leone remains precarious with high numbers of new cases and deaths being reported.

Ebola virus/CDC
Ebola virus/CDC

Since July 2, the number of cases reported in West Africa has increased by 109 (779 to 888) and the number of fatalities jumped by 58 (481 to 539). The distribution and classification of the cases are as follows: Guinea, 409 cases (296 confirmed, 96 probable, and 17 suspected) and 309 deaths (197 confirmed, 96 probable, and 16 suspected); Liberia, 142 cases (70 confirmed, 32 probable, and 40 suspected) and 88 deaths (44 confirmed, 28 probable, and 16 suspected); and Sierra Leone, 337 cases (298 confirmed, 34 probable, and 5 suspected) and 142 deaths (127 confirmed, 11 probable, and 4 suspected).

The current active foci of the EVD outbreak have been identified as Kailahun and Kenema in Sierra Leone and Lofa and Montserrado in Liberia. The respective Ministries of Health are working with WHO and its partners to step up containment measures.

As part of the effort to control this outbreak, Dr Keiji Fukuda, the Assistant Director-General for WHO’s Health Security cluster and Dr Benido Impouma, the Sub-regional Coordinator for the outbreak response visited Sierra Leone and Guinea from 7–10 July 2014. The WHO’s delegation engaged and had dialogue with high-level political and Government authorities aimed to enhance national leadership and commitment. The delegation also held discussions with the national coordination structures for EVD outbreak response, including partners, in order to strengthen coordination, communication, and inter-sectoral collaboration.

A Sub-regional Outbreak Coordination Centre for the response is being established in Conakry, Guinea. The centre will act as a control and coordination platform to consolidate and harmonize the technical support to West African countries and to assist in resource mobilization.

The Sub-regional Centre will be responsible for ensuring effective use and deployment of limited and scarce, but highly critical resources based on prioritization and agreed objectives. The organization and coordination of key support functions and field operations will move closer to outbreak areas, or hot spots.