The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, primarily affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, has exceeded all previous Ebola outbreaks in the number of cases and in international response. There have been 20 significant outbreaks of Ebola virus disease in Sub-Saharan Africa prior to the 2014 outbreak, the largest being that in Uganda in 2000, with 425 cases and a mortality of 53%. Since the first outbreaks in Sudan and Zaire in 1976, transmission within health facilities has been of major concern, affecting healthcare workers and acting as amplifiers of spread into the community. The lack of resources for infection control and personal protective equipment are the main reasons for nosocomial transmission. Local strategies to improve infection control, and a greater understanding of local community views on the disease, have helped to bring outbreaks under control. Recommendations from previous outbreaks include improved disease surveillance to enable more rapid health responses, the wider availability of personal protective equipment, and greater international preparedness.
Keywords: Africa; Ebola virus disease; Healthcare workers; Nosocomial transmission.
Copyright © 2015 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.