A l’aube des premières campagnes de vaccination contre la Covid-19, une formule a largement circulé sur les réseaux sociaux, en substance: «Vivement la sortie d’un nouveau vaccin, qu’on puisse le refuser».
Coronavirus aujourd’hui, Ebola hier, l’épidémiologie des maladies infectieuses reste un impensé des populations et demeure peu enseignée à l’école primaire et secondaire, constate Françoise Duroch de Médecins sans frontières.
In December 1899 Honolulu-based physicians attributed two deaths to bubonic plague, and a local paper duly announced that the ‘scourge of the Orient’ had arrived. Within months a first plague fatality was reported in continental U.S. as Chinese-American Chick Gin (Wing Chung Ging or Wong Chut King depending on the transliteration) succumbed to the disease in San Francisco. The cause of death was based on a classic plague symptom of swelling around the groin, but was disputed even after rudimentary bacterial analysis.
La menace du typhus qui sévit en Europe orientale et dans les Balkans pendant la première moitié du XXe siècle fut exploitée pour dénoncer le péril bolchevique, puis utilisée par les nazis pour séquestrer les populations juives.
West Africa is still paying the price for its poor response to the Ebola epidemic. Where an early response could have prevented the worst, failures on all levels allowed Ebola to spread, exposing a deep rift between the population and political class of the countries affected. Unless all actors learn from the crisis, a similar disaster may be just a matter of time.
With the expertise acquired over the past years on the Ebola virus disease, MSF was compelled to take on responsibilities beyond its usual first responder mandate during the Ebola crisis in West Africa. By winning the trust of the President of Guinea despite some initial stormy relations, MSF was able to contribute significantly to the definition of the national strategies to fight the outbreak, while facilitating the deployment of its operation to care for the people affected by Ebola.
With 28,639 cases and 11,316 deaths, the 2014–2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa stunned the world, revealing the global health community’s collective shortcomings in the face of a virulent and deadly disease. It was also among the largest responses in MSF’s history with more than 5,000 staff deployed to care for patients and help contain the outbreak.
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a highly lethal condition for which no specific treatment has proven efficacy. In September 2014, while the Ebola outbreak was at its peak, the World Health Organization released a short list of drugs suitable for EVD research. Favipiravir, an antiviral developed for the treatment of severe influenza, was one of these. In late 2014, the conditions for starting a randomized Ebola trial were not fulfilled for two reasons.
As of the 31st of March 2015, 418 out of 815 infected health care workers had died from the Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to a recent WHO report. 217 recovered and the fate of the remaining 181 is unknown. These figures alone attest to the heavy price paid by medical staff responding to the crisis.