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

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 85 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: 13.08.2015


Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Electron microscopy of Ebola viruses (coloured). Source: Hans Gelderblom/RKI

The Robert Koch Institute gives recommendations for doctors and public health experts dealing with Ebola virus disease (EVD). Key documents are also provided in English.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Scanning electron microscopy. Bar = 1 µm. Quelle: Gudrun Holland 2013/RKI

The Robert Koch Institute provides online information on tuberculosis.

International activities

Bacillus anthracis. Source: RKI

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.

Course offering on biological hazards

Electron microscope. Source: RKI

The Robert Koch Institute offers international courses and workshops on biological hazards.

German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults

Logo of the German Health Study for Adults (DEGS). Source: © RKI

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.