The Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the current situation in Germany
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.
The risk of Ebola introduction and transmission to Germany is considered low, but such a case cannot be entirely ruled out. As the national level German Public Health Institution, the Robert Koch Institute provides recommendations for doctors and public health experts. In collaboration with German state health authorities, scientific societies and institutes, RKI experts devised a Framework Ebola Virus Disease. This document summarizes recommendations and regulations regarding infection control and clinical management of EVD patients in Germany. The Framework EVD and other key documents are also provided in English.
Should a case of Ebola virus disease occur, Germany will be 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 also 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 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 provides online information on tuberculosis.
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.
The Robert Koch Institute offers international courses and workshops on biological hazards.