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Table of Contents   
EDITORIAL COMMENTARY  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 303-304
Terminating the status of public health emergency of international concern for ebola outbreak in West Africa: What does it mean? What next?


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication22-Jun-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Terminating the status of public health emergency of international concern for ebola outbreak in West Africa: What does it mean? What next?. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:303-4

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Terminating the status of public health emergency of international concern for ebola outbreak in West Africa: What does it mean? What next?. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Nov 20];10:303-4. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/2/303/196856
The 2014 outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) had a major impact on the lives of millions of people, including the health professionals, exposed numerous shortcomings in the public health infrastructure.[1] The disease was assigned the status of public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) in August 2014, owing to its enormous magnitude, the potential of the disease to spread to different nations across international boundaries, risk of prompt community and health facilities transmission, and the weak health systems.[1],[2]In-fact, almost 28650 cases and more than 11320 deaths has been attributed to the disease in the 10 affected nations.[3]

Further, three of the most affected nations (viz. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) have satisfied the standards for interruption of the original chain of transmission (viz. no case for 42 days and extra 90 days of surveillance after the detection of last case attributed to the original transmission chain).[3],[4],[5] Based on the recommendations and the factual evidence, it has been decided towards the end of March 2016 that EVD outbreak should not be considered a PHEIC.[4]

This decision has been further supported by the careful assessment of the epidemiological situation in the 3 worst affected nations, the quality of the ongoing work to prevent any potential re-emergence of the disease, low risk of international spread, and the capacity to promptly detect and respond rapidly to any new clusters of cases.[4],[5] The step to terminate the PHEIC status has been taken despite the emergence of the 12 new clusters of Ebola cases due to re-entry of the virus, with the most recent being reported in Guinea in March 2016.[3] The international stakeholders have appreciated the outbreak response approach, including the prompt detection of cases, and initiation of a rapid response to limit the further transmission of the disease, including tracing and monitoring of the hundreds of contacts of the disease in the region.[3],[4]

Despite revoking the status of PHEIC for EVD, it is very much important that the nations should maintain the capacity and readiness to prevent, detect and respond to any ongoing and/or new clusters in the future, as the virus still persists in the ecosystem.[1],[4] At the same time, strengthening of the laboratory capacity to check for the presence of virus in the semen of male patient survivors; and actively involving members of the community to support the health professionals in isolation of suspected cases, management, and assistance in the strategy of contact tracing.[4] In addition, the international donors should continue to provide their financial aid, expansion of the diagnostic services, an improvement in the surveillance network, sustain vaccination capacity, and assistance in the field of research, to prepare the nations to respond rapidly to any new outbreak in the region.[4],[5]

To conclude, the EVD outbreak in West Africa is no longer a PHEIC, nevertheless a high level of vigilance and response capacity has to be maintained to ensure the ability of the nations to rapidly detect and respond to subsequent flare-ups in the future.

Acknowledgement

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

 
   References Top

1.
Adams JJ, Lisco SJ,Ebola: Urgent need, Rapid response. Simul Healthc 2016; 11: 72-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J, Ebola outbreak in West Africa: Bridging the gap between the public health authorities and the community. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res 2016; 21: 105-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization Ebola Situation Report - 30 March 2016; 2016. [Last accessed on 2016 April 5]. Available from: http://apps.who.int/ebola/current-situation/ebola-situation-report-30-march-2016  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization Statement on the 9th meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa; 2016. [Last accessed on 2016 April 5]. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2016/end-of-ebola-pheic/en/  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Gulland A, Ebola is no longer a public health emergency, says WHO. BMJ 2016; 352: i1825  Back to cited text no. 5
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.196856

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