MMWR: Notes from the Field: Ebola Virus Disease Response Activities During a Mass Displacement Event
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Since the start of the Ebola virus disease (Ebola) outbreak in West Africa, Sierra Leone has reported 8,706 confirmed Ebola cases and 3,956 deaths (1). During September 15–16, 2015, heavy rains flooded the capital, Freetown, resulting in eight deaths, home and property destruction, and thousands of persons in need of assistance (2). By September 27, approximately 13,000 flood-affected persons registered for flood relief services from the government (3). On September 17, two stadiums in Freetown were opened to provide shelter and assistance to flood-affected residents; a total of approximately 3,000 persons stayed overnight in both stadiums (Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, personal communication, September 2015). On the same day the stadiums were opened to flood-affected persons, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) and Western Area Ebola Response Center (WAERC) staff members from CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the African Union evaluated the layout, logistics, and services at both stadiums and identified an immediate need to establish Ebola response activities. The patient in the last Ebola case in the Western Area, which includes Freetown, had died 37 days earlier, on August 11; however, transmission elsewhere in Sierra Leone was ongoing, and movement of persons throughout the country was common (4,5).