The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today will release a detailed account of the agency’s work on the largest, longest outbreak response in the agency’s history: the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016. The series of articles, in a special supplement to CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), comes on the second anniversary of the official activation of the agency’s emergency response to Ebola.
“The Ebola epidemic in West Africa killed thousands and directly or indirectly harmed millions of people living in the region,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The resilience of those affected; the hard work by ministries of health and international partners; and the dedication, hard work, and expertise of mission-driven CDC employees helped avoid a global catastrophe. We must work to ensure that a preventable outbreak of this magnitude never happens again.”
The 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic was the first and largest epidemic of its kind, with widespread urban transmission and a massive death count of more than 11,300 people in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The epidemic took a devastating toll on the people of West Africa. Ending it took an extraordinary international effort in which the U.S. government played a major role.
CDC’s response was directed simultaneously at controlling the epidemic in West Africa and strengthening preparedness for Ebola in the United States. The new MMWR Ebola special supplement primarily focuses on the agency’s work during the first year and a half of the response. CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the Ebola response on July 9, 2014. On August 5, 2014, CDC elevated the EOC to a Level 1 activation, its highest level. On March 31, 2016, CDC officially deactivated the EOC for the 2014-2016 Ebola response.
“The world came together in an unprecedented way—nations, organizations, and individuals—to respond to this horrible epidemic,” said Inger Damon, M.D., Ph.D., who served as incident manager for the CDC Ebola response during its first eight months. “CDC staff performed heroically and were an integral part of the U.S. all-government response, which involved many other agencies and branches of government.”
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