Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Update on Ebola virus disease (EVD) case accumulation chart with new WHO African Regional Office data for 11-Apr-2014.[AMENDED]

Lines use the axis on the left, bars use the right hand axis.
Click on image to enlarge.
Its been 4-days since the last World Heath Organisation update on the changing situation with Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Western Africa (10-April, covering numbers from 9/10-April). Yet the update we received over night (my time) only advances the case numbers by 1-2-days, covering numbers from 11-April.

Total suspected/probable/confirmed cases: 193
Total suspected/probable/confirmed deaths: 119 (61.7%)
Total lab confirmations: 77 (39.9% of 187)

There are a constant stream of social media comments about case numbers blowing out in one place/region/country or another, hashtags like #terror and #WMD, statements about unwillingness to shake hands not meaning to be an insult (but slightly more emphatic than that at times), plumpynut or onion magical remedies (they are not remedies so please ignore the magical cures (they come from ignorance and are not backed by science), implications that cases always bleed (41% in one past outbreak) and then there's the border closures and flight restrictions...

I think that the more regularly the world receives simple and reliable information on any outbreak that scares them - from the locals and volunteers who have to stare the virus down to the causal observer with the attention span of a fruit fly - the more able they are to filter out the noise and learn from the facts. I think we've all learned something about EVD form this outbreaks as we will any outbreak if we look harder enough and are willing to be educated. Its a grisly, scary but ultimately much more manageable type of virus outbreak than each year's epidemic of seasonal influenza is. Be alert but not alarmed hmm?

This announcement from WHO social media communications front man Gregory Härtl was a very welcome one in the context of that windy paragraph...
The latest graph, above, is based on these new WHO-AFRO data. It shows that cases continue to accrue slowly as do deaths and lab confirmations. Case numbers have risen by 7 since the previous report and the proportion of fatal cases, which includes suspected, probable and confirmed EVD cases, is now at 61.7%. While that proportion is a horrible number, the rise in case numbers is not exponential. Mali's samples are still being tested and so no change in suspect case numbers there. Among Guinea's 106 deaths, 42 (39.6%) have been laboratory confirmed. There is also a mention of a possible funeral-related cluster. No word on how many transmission chains are being watched now. I may have misread this, but not long ago I thought that all cases could be linked to just one source. This cluster may suggests that may have changed and a statement on this aspect of the EVD outbreak in West Africa would be helpful.

The most recent suspected EVD case onset noted in the report arose 10-April-14.

We eagerly await the next update.

Sources...

  1. Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update [10-April with data from 9/10-April]
    http://www.who.int/csr/don/2014_04_10_ebola/en/
  2. Ebola virus disease, West Africa (Situation as of 14 April 2014) [Data from 11-April]
    http://www.afro.who.int/en/clusters-a-programmes/dpc/epidemic-a-pandemic-alert-and-response/outbreak-news/4095-ebola-virus-disease-west-africa-14-april-2014.html