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Heroes of the year

Did a new vaccine wipe out the virus and end the Ebola epidemic? It may have helped but the main things were very fast behavioural change and heroic healthcare workers. See the Wikipedia excerpt (emphasis added):

“In a 26 September statement, the WHO said, “The Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of West Africa is the most severe acute public health emergency seen in modern times. Never before in recorded history has a biosafety level four pathogen infected so many people so quickly, over such a broad geographical area, for so long.

Checking for symptoms of Ebola in Sierra Leone, November 2014

Intense contact tracing and strict isolation techniques largely prevented further spread of the disease in the countries that had imported cases; this disease is still ongoing in Guinea. As of 2 December 2015, 28,638 suspected cases and 11,315 deaths have been reported; however, the WHO has said that these numbers may be underestimated. Because they work closely with the body fluids of infected patients, healthcare workers have been especially vulnerable to catching the disease; in August 2014, the WHO reported that ten percent of the dead have been healthcare workers.

In September 2014, it was estimated that the countries’ capacity for treating Ebola patients was insufficient by the equivalent of 2,122 beds; by December there were a sufficient number of beds to treat and isolate all reported Ebola cases, although the uneven distribution of cases was resulting in serious shortfalls in some areas. On 28 January 2015, the WHO reported that for the first time since the week ending 29 June 2014, there had been fewer than 100 new confirmed cases reported in a week in the three most-affected countries.

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