Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was deeply gratified to hear confirmation from the French Ministry of Health on October 4 that its staff member infected by Ebola in Liberia mid-September has now recovered.
“We are sharing in the joy of the family of our colleague. This is amazing news and huge relief for all at MSF. We would like to thank the efforts and the mobilisation of the teams at hospital Begin who have taken care of her at her return to France” says Stéphane Roques, MSF’s General Director.
Since the beginning of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in March 2014, medical and non-medical staff working for ministries of health and NGOs supporting them in the most affected countries have been exposed to the virus. An estimated 373 medical staff got infected since the beginning of the epidemic and 208 have died. Since March 2014, 16 MSF staff members contracted the virus; nine of them have died.
From September 17, 2014:
MSF confirms that one of its international staff members in Liberia has been diagnosed with Ebola hemorrhagic fever.
The MSF staff member from France, currently on assignment in Monrovia, was placed in isolation on Tuesday, September 16, after she developed a fever. Laboratory tests performed on the same day confirmed an Ebola infection.
Following MSF medical evacuation procedures, she will be soon transferred to a specialized treatment center in France.
"MSF applies very strict protocols of protection for its staff - before, during and after their time in a country affected by the current Ebola outbreak”, said Brice de le Vingne, MSF Director of Operations. “This dramatically reduces the risk of transmission of the disease. However, the risk is part of such an intervention, and sadly our teams are not spared.”
The circumstances under which the contamination took place have not been determined at this time. This is being investigated by MSF teams, under the standard management procedures for such events.
For reasons of medical confidentiality and to preserve the privacy of its staff member and her family, MSF will not provide any further comment at this time.
MSF has been responding to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa since March 2014. More than 2,000 MSF staff are currently working in the region, including some 200 international staff.