Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreaks: Strategies for effective epidemic management, containment and control

Gerald Amandu Matua*, Dirk Mostert Van der Wal, Rozzano C. Locsin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ebola hemorrhagic fever, caused by the highly virulent RNA virus of the filoviridae family, has become one of the world's most feared pathogens. The virus induces acute fever and death, often associated with hemorrhagic symptoms in up to 90% of infected patients. The known sub-types of the virus are Zaire, Sudan, Taï Forest, Bundibugyo and Reston Ebola viruses. In the past, outbreaks were limited to the East and Central African tropical belt with the exception of Ebola Reston outbreaks that occurred in animal facilities in the Philippines, USA and Italy. The on-going outbreak in West Africa that is causing numerous deaths and severe socio-economic challenges has resulted in widespread anxiety globally. This panic may be attributed to the intense media interest, the rapid spread of the virus to other countries like United States and Spain, and moreover, to the absence of an approved treatment or vaccine.Informed by this widespread fear and anxiety, we analyzed the commonly used strategies to manage and control Ebola outbreaks and proposed new approaches that could improve epidemic management and control during future outbreaks. We based our recommendations on epidemic management practices employed during recent outbreaks in East, Central and West Africa, and synthesis of peer-reviewed publications as well as published "field" information from individuals and organizations recently involved in the management of Ebola epidemics.The current epidemic management approaches are largely "reactive", with containment efforts aimed at halting spread of existing outbreaks. We recommend that for better outcomes, in addition to "reactive" interventions, "pre-emptive" strategies also need to be instituted. We conclude that emphasizing both "reactive" and "pre-emptive" strategies is more likely to lead to better epidemic preparedness and response at individual, community, institutional, and government levels, resulting in timely containment of future Ebola outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-313
Number of pages6
JournalBrazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015

Keywords

  • Ebola epidemics
  • Ebola hemorrhagic fever
  • Ebola virus
  • Filoviridae infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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