I wanted to share these facts with our readers.
• Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
• The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
• The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50 percent. Case fatality rates have varied from 25 to 90 percent in past outbreaks.
• The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in west Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas.
• Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilisation.
• Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralise the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.
• There are currently no licensed Ebola vaccines but 2 potential candidates are undergoing evaluation.
While it is unusual for Ebola patients to require surgery, it is common for them to require critical care. As the epidemic continues to evolve, it is possible that Disaster Relief Organizations may require the expertise of anesthesiologists trained in critical care to assist.