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Vetter, et al. (2016) report on the discussions held during a one-day session at the 2015 International Consortium for Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC)'s biannual conference, which focused on the 2014-2015 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa.
The authors address lessons learned and imagining a way forward for the communities most affected by the epidemic. They also include discussions from public health, infectious diseases, critical care and infection control experts who cared for patients with EVD in Africa, in Europe, and in the United Sates and were involved in Ebola preparedness in both high- and low-resource settings and countries.
This review concludes that too little is known about the pathogenesis and treatment of EVD, therefore basic and applied research in this area are urgently required. Furthermore, it is clear that epidemic preparedness needs to improve globally, in particular through the strengthening of health systems at local and national levels. There is a strong need for culturally sensitive approaches to public health which could be designed and delivered by social scientists and medical professionals working together.
As of December 2015, this epidemic killed more than 11,000 people and infected more than 28,000; it has also generated more than 17,000 survivors and orphans, many of whom face somatic and psychological complications. The continued treatment and rehabilitation of these people is a public health priority, which also requires an integration of specific medical and social science approaches, not always available in West Africa.
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Reference: Vetter P, Dayer JA and Schibler M, et al. The 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa: Hands On. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 2016;5:17