Senegal's EOC Helps Control Influenza Outbreak

A local health worker collects data and nasopharyngeal swab samples from children during flu investigation.

A local health worker collects data and nasopharyngeal swab samples from children during flu investigation.

In March 2017, as the mid-term school holidays began in Senegal’s eastern region of Kedougou, the Ministry of Health received reports that children were falling ill. Some had died.

With knowledge gained from CDC-led emergency management trainings and simulation exercises, Senegal’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activated to coordinate the response, quickly deploying experts from the EOC, WHO, Institut Pasteur, and disease detectives from Senegal’s CDC-supported Frontline Field Epidemiology Training Program to investigate the cases. Laboratory testing soon confirmed H1N1 pandemic influenza as the cause.

The response team put control measures into place, including reinforced surveillance at health posts and targeted messaging to healthcare personnel and community leaders. They distributed critical materials on proper hand-washing, rapid referral of suspect cases, and a case report form to help with data collection and tracking.

The outbreak was contained in just 11 days, with 118 cases and 3 deaths. The fast, coordinated response demonstrates how Senegal’s EOC is continuing to move toward better priority disease reporting and management of complex emergencies.