The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a detailed account on Thursday of the agency’s response to the Ebola virus epidemic of 2014-2016.
The report, a special supplement to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), comes on the second anniversary of the official activation of the agency’s emergency response.
“The Ebola epidemic in West Africa killed thousands and directly or indirectly harmed millions of people living in the region,” Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said. “The resilience of those affected, the hard work by ministries of health and international partners, and the dedication, hard work, and expertise of mission-driven CDC employees helped avoid a global catastrophe. We must work to ensure that a preventable outbreak of this magnitude never happens again.”
The epidemic was the first and largest of its kind, with a death total as high as 11,300 in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leon alone.
By the end of the epidemic, more than 3,700 CDC staff had participated in international or domestic response efforts. There were more than 2,900 deployments to the affected West African countries, and a number of CDC staff remain in those areas to monitor the environment to assure the epidemic doesn’t begin again.
Some key activities highlighted in the report include establishing CDC teams in affected West African countries, improving case detection and contract tracing, promoting the use of safe and dignified burial services to stop the spread of the virus, strengthening surveillance and response capacities, establishing entry risk procedures for travelers coming from and going to affected areas, and assisting state health departments in responding to domestic Ebola concerns.