Ebola virus disease
West Africa is facing the largest Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in history. The World Health Organization and their international partners are struggling to seize control of the epidemic by scaling up international help in the affected areas. As the national level German Public Health Institution, the Robert Koch Institute supports the global efforts to combat EVD on various levels.
In April 2014, a team of scientists from the RKI and other health officials travelled to Guinea in order to investigate a possible EVD outbreak in wild animals. Information gathered during this trip was to be used to help predict possible Ebola virus transmissions from wild animals to humans. RKI virologists continue to work in the European mobile labs in Guinea and Liberia, assisting in diagnosing Ebola infections. RKI Epidemiologists are supporting the WHO’s Global Outbreak and Alert Network, an international network of institutes providing expertise and technical support for outbreak response. The RKI has also developed specific training programs for West Africa, training health care workers from neighbouring countries to reliably identify and treat Ebola patients.
The risk of EVD import and transmission to Germany is persistently monitored by experts of the Robert Koch Institute. The RKI provides recommendations for doctors and public health experts regarding measures for medical and other staff returning from patient care in West Africa, and a flowchart guiding German doctors in identifying probable EVD cases in patients. Key documents are also provided in English. The risk of Ebola introduction to Germany is considered low, but such a case cannot be entirely ruled out. Germany is well prepared: The Robert Koch Institute hosts the office of the STAKOB, a national network of seven treatment centers specialized in the care of patients with highly infectious diseases. Three African Ebola patients all infected while working in the EVD outbreak centers in West Africa have already been treated in German special care units.
The Robert Koch-Institute regularly conducts and publishes the “German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults”, an on-going assessment and analysis of the health condition of the German adult population.
The Robert Koch Institute offers international courses and workshops on biological hazards.
The Robert Koch Institute participates in large European research projects and co-operations in the fields of prevention of infections as well as health monitoring, for example REACT or EHES.
The RKI provides online information on measles.