Emergency committee updates WHO on West Africa's Ebola outbreak

Emergency committee updates WHO on West Africa's Ebola outbreak.
The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee discussed the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa on Oct. 1 at its seventh meeting, which was called by the World Health Organization's (WHO) director-general.

The meeting, held via teleconference, was called for the committee to update the director-general on whether EVD is still a public health emergency of international concern and whether the regulations in place need to be revised, extended or reissued.

Participants included representatives from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Since the committee met in July, Liberia has been EVD-free for the second time, on Sept. 3; Sierra Leone and Guinea have reported fewer than 10 cases per week; and there are just two active strains in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The committee credits the improvements with Ebola control measures being implemented, community outreach, social mobilization and improved practices.

The committee still considers the EVD outbreak a public health emergency of international concern and made recommendations to the director-general.

In states where Ebola transmission is confirmed, the recommendations include isolating confirmed EVD cases with no travel until two Ebola specific tests are negative at least 48 hours apart. People who have come into contact with a confirmed Ebola case should be monitored daily and avoid international travel for 21 days. Suspected cases should be isolated until classification as a confirmed case or contact is made.

A recommendation was also made that exit screenings for international travel continue in states with Ebola transmissions.

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