The European Union (EU) on Tuesday released its response to the ongoing situation in West Africa with the Ebola virus infecting more than 13,000 and causing nearly 5,000 deaths since the outbreak began in December 2013.
It stated that it has mobilized financial, political and scientific support to fight the epidemic. It appointed Christos Stylianides, EU commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management as the EU Ebola coordinator. Earlier this week he and EU Commissioner for Health Vytenis Andriukaitis saw the epidemic's effects first-hand.
The EU reports that it has sent more than $1.2 billion in relief efforts. This includes contributions from member states. These funds help cover epidemic surveillance, treatment and medical supplies required to attempt management of the situation. Support has also been allocated to neighboring lands to stimulate preparedness efforts in case the disease crosses borders into other countries.
Emergency and medical supplies and expertise have also been sent to the three most affected countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Member states have developed and sent mobile laboratories, treatment centers and logistical support necessary for these facilities to be effective.
Efforts in medical evacuation, research and preparedness have also been undertaken by the EU. Because there is no vaccine against the Ebola virus, treatment is limited to symptom management so that the patients survive with their immune response killing the virus. Research programs that support the development of these medications are expected to begin in 2015.