WHO accelerates ebola response in West Africa

The World Health Organization recently increased its response efforts to the ongoing ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

Health ministers in 11 West African countries approved the new strategy this month as ebola continues to spread in both urban and rural settings, according to a WHO feature story.

The plan includes increased contact tracing, which finds people who have been in close contact with those infected with ebola and monitoring them while providing education and support.

The WHO, along with the Global Alert Response Network and other partners, also deployed teams of experts including epidemiologists to work with the affected countries to monitor the outbreak and laboratory experts to establish mobile field labs for early confirmation of ebola cases. Clinical management and infection and control experts were also sent to help combat the outbreak.

Social mobilization and risk communications teams are also working in West Africa to help health officials deliver appropriate messages about how to handle and treat ebola cases.

Ebola is spread by direct contact with the blood and bodily fluids of infected animals or people. The disease causes severe hemorrhaging and can kill up to 90 percent of those infected.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have reported approximately 930 cases of ebola so far, with approximately 580 deaths.