Emergencies preparedness, response

Cholera in Liberia - Update 2

13 August 2003

Disease Outbreak Reported

A WHO team composed of three experts, an epidemiologist, an expert on cholera from the Cholera Task Force, and a water and sanitation engineer are en route to Liberia to support the WHO country office in the surveillance and control of communicable diseases (see previous report). The mission is a joint response, carried out in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Africa. A major concern is the ongoing outbreak of cholera in Monrovia which to date has led to 1944 cases and 17 deaths.

The team will:

  • Assess the overall health situation in Monrovia and other areas as relevant;
  • Assess control and response measures in place for cholera and diarrhoeal diseases, current water supply and sanitation systems;
  • Develop a health surveillance system for the emergency phase including an early warning system for outbreaks;
  • Strengthen information reporting and assess laboratory capacity for the confirmation of main communicable diseases;
  • Identify mechanisms for collection and transport of specimen samples;
  • Develop a plan for epidemic preparedness and response for the main epidemic-prone diseases with key partners; and
  • Collaborate with relevant agencies in providing safe water.

The team will work with the WHO country office, national health authorities on the ground and key partners including other United Nations agencies, Médecins sans Frontières and the International Committee of the Red Cross. WHO has supplied laboratory equipment for specimen sampling for use during this mission.