Ebola virus disease: emergence, outbreak and future directions

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The West African Ebola crisis of 2013–15 is the largest outbreak since Ebola was first identified; Ebola has high case fatality.

Sources of Data

Pubmed with terms ‘Ebola’ and ‘EVD’ from January 1976 to June 2015. Public domain material.

Areas of Agreement

The emergence of Ebola virus, virology, clinical features and the major elements of the 2014 outbreak and the public health response. Ebola is only transmitted by direct contact with infected individuals (including dead bodies) and their body fluids. Methods of control in hospitals and burials, and protection of healthcare workers are well established if difficult to achieve.

Areas of contention

There remains uncertainty surrounding specific public health interventions and novel therapies (including vaccines). How best to reduce transmission in the community during major outbreaks remains unclear.

Future directions

The potential of vaccine and therapeutic candidates in the event of another outbreak on this scale. .

Search Strategy

We searched all entries on the MedLine database/PubMed from 1976–2015 with the MeSH terms ‘ebola’, ‘EVD’, ‘haemorrhagic fever’. We also reviewed publically available information via institutional websites from Governmental, NGOs and news organizations pertaining to the above search terms.

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