Solthis Solidarité Thérapeutique et Initiatives pour la Santé

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Emerging Diseases

The SARS-CoV-2 virus

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, which cause illnesses ranging from the common cold (some seasonal viruses are Coronaviruses) to more severe illnesses such as MERS-COV or SARS .The virus identified in January 2020 in China is a new Coronavirus, named SARS-CoV-2. The disease caused by this coronavirus has been named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization – WHO. Since March 11, 2020, the WHO describes the global situation of COVID-19 as a pandemic; i.e. the epidemic is now global.

 

Ebola virus disease

Ebola pannel in Conakry

Ebola virus disease (previously called Ebola virus hemorrhagic fever) is a serious disease, often fatal in humans. The virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals and then propagates through the population via person-to-person transmission. The first outbreaks of Ebola virus disease happened in isolated villages in Central Africa, near tropical forests, but the recent outbreak in West Africa affected major urban centers as well as rural areas.

The average mortality rate is around 50%. During previous outbreaks, the rates have run from 25% to 90%. Community participation is essential for stopping outbreaks. To be effective, the fight must to be based on a collection of actions: caring for cases, monitoring and seeking out contacts, quality laboratory services, safe burials, and social mobilization. Early support based around rehydration and symptomatic treatment increases survival rates.

No approved treatment has currently demonstrated any ability to neutralize the virus, but many treatments (immunological and medicinal blood by-products) are being studied. There is no currently approved vaccine for Ebola virus disease, but two candidates are currently being evaluated.

Solthis’ Action

Health workers were hit with the full force of the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, working tirelessly to care for the sick and risking their lives each time they went to work. According to a WHO report on the infection in healthcare personnel, the risk of being infected by the Ebola virus was between 21 and 32 times greater for healthcare workers than for the general population.

As a result, Solthis is engaged through its local and international partners in supporting new protection measures for healthcare personnel and patients, in conjunction with national Ebola response plans in these two countries by ensuring training for healthcare workers, technical assistance to verify the availability of protective materials in HIV units, and monitoring the implementation of preventative measures within HIV units in sites targeted by the project.

 

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