Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 145-151

Study of recent Ebola virus outbreak and lessons learned: A scoping study

1 Department of Community Medicine, Army College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Immunization Technical Support Unit, Public Health Foundation of & MoHFW, Government of , New Delhi, India
3 Center for Epidemiology and Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Disease Control, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Nidhi Bhatnagar
Nidhi Bhatnagar, Department of Community Medicine, Army College of Medical Sciences, Delhi Cantonment, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.181658

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Background: The recent Ebola outbreak notified in West Africa recorded 6,553 cases and 3,083 deaths till 30th September 2014. This is the longest reported outbreak, suggesting poor preparedness and inadequate public health response. Learning from these experiences can help taking future disease-control measures in West Africa and elsewhere. Materials and Methods: This scoping study was done to summarize a range of evidences available on the current “Ebola Viral Disease” (EVD) outbreak. All articles in English language related to the epidemiology of Ebola in humans, published between 1st March and 30th September 2014, were considered for review. Search engines, such as PubMed and Google Scholar, were used to search for the following keywords: “Ebola,” “Ebola Virus,” “Ebola Viral Disease,” and “Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever.” Snowballing using cross-references was done to find related literature on EVD. Related websites, blogs, and published news articles were reviewed. Studies of varying designs were considered without any quality assessment. Results: This is the first ever Ebola outbreak affecting large urban communities. Factors that worsened the outbreak were as follows: Weak health systems, unfavorable cultural practices, poverty, illiteracy, mistrust for the government, extensive cross-border movement, slow response from international agencies, and lack of tested treatment and prevention strategies. Simple measures of universal precaution, isolation and tracking of contacts, supportive treatment, and appropriate burial practices were difficult to implement. Conclusions: The outbreak in West Africa illustrates serious weaknesses in the ability of the international communities to respond to these outbreaks. Cost of setting up an infrastructure for early effective response is insignificant compared to the huge social and economic cost of the outbreak. Strong health system, improved preparedness, and effective community participation are imperative for control.

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