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What factors might have led to the emergence of ebola in West Africa?

Alexander, KA and Sanderson, CE and Marathe, M and Lewis, BL and Rivers, CM and Shaman, J and Drake, JM and Lofgren, E and Dato, VM and Eisenberg, MC and Eubank, S (2015) What factors might have led to the emergence of ebola in West Africa? PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 9 (6). ISSN 1935-2727

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Abstract

© 2015 Alexander et al. An Ebola outbreak of unprecedented scope emerged in West Africa in December 2013 and presently continues unabated in the countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Ebola is not new to Africa, and outbreaks have been confirmed as far back as 1976. The current West African Ebola outbreak is the largest ever recorded and differs dramatically from prior outbreaks in its duration, number of people affected, and geographic extent. The emergence of this deadly disease in West Africa invites many questions, foremost among these: why now, and why in West Africa? Here, we review the sociological, ecological, and environmental drivers that might have influenced the emergence of Ebola in this region of Africa and its spread throughout the region. Containment of the West African Ebola outbreak is the most pressing, immediate need. A comprehensive assessment of the drivers of Ebola emergence and sustained human-to-human transmission is also needed in order to prepare other countries for importation or emergence of this disease. Such assessment includes identification of country-level protocols and interagency policies for outbreak detection and rapid response, increased understanding of cultural and traditional risk factors within and between nations, delivery of culturally embedded public health education, and regional coordination and collaboration, particularly with governments and health ministries throughout Africa. Public health education is also urgently needed in countries outside of Africa in order to ensure that risk is properly understood and public concerns do not escalate unnecessarily. To prevent future outbreaks, coordinated, multiscale, early warning systems should be developed that make full use of these integrated assessments, partner with local communities in high-risk areas, and provide clearly defined response recommendations specific to the needs of each community.


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Details

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Alexander, KA
Sanderson, CE
Marathe, M
Lewis, BL
Rivers, CM
Shaman, J
Drake, JM
Lofgren, E
Dato, VMvmd11@pitt.eduVMD11
Eisenberg, MC
Eubank, S
Contributors:
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
EditorAkogun, Oladele B.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 4 June 2015
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Volume: 9
Number: 6
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003652
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Biomedical Informatics
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1935-2727
Article Type: Review
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2016 14:06
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2018 14:55
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/28586

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