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Reports from the field: RKI staff responds to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa

Scientist in Guinea. © Fabian Leendertz/RKI

On March 23 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially confirmed an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa, which since then has be­come the largest in history. The Robert Koch Institute supports the inter­na­tional efforts to contain the disease on-site. RKI scientists travelled to Guinea as early as April 2014 in order to inves­ti­gate the wildlife origins of the epidemic. Since May 2014, virologists from the RKI have been working in the European Mobile Labo­ra­to­ry, analysing blood samples from suspected EVD patients. On behalf of the WHO and international aid agencies, RKI field epi­de­mio­lo­gists carry out in­ves­ti­ga­tive work in affected villages in order to find new EVD cases and contacts. Others watched the exit screenings at the international airports in West Africa or sup­por­ted the WHO in Geneva. The Robert Koch Institute also helps neigh­bour­ing West African countries prepare for pos­sible imported EVD cases: In Ivory Coast, a new laboratory is set up for the diagnosis of Ebola virus disease and other pathogens. In Senegal and Burkina Faso, RKI staff trains doctors and nurses how to take care of patients with EVD and how to protect themselves from infection. So far, RKI researchers have been on more than 80 missions in West Africa. Learn more about their work in the following reports. The series is a translation of reports about RKI staff in West Africa on the RKI German homepage.

Date: 16.11.2015