Harvard Business Review: Containing Ebola

Rebel attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo challenge the public health response to Ebola outbreaks in that country. Outbreaks can flare quickly, even without considering that conflict has contributed to displacement of more than 4.5 million people inside the country and hundreds of thousands fleeing to neighboring countries. “With over 10 major episodes of violence since the outbreak was declared in August, insecurity and community mistrust has made it difficult to gauge the true extent of Ebola’s spread,” explain Ranu S. Dhillon and Devabhaktuni Srikrishna for Harvard Business Review. “Though the outbreak could still be limited, cases appear to be increasing – especially in Beni, where cases have doubled in recent weeks – with 80% of new infections arising among people with no link to “known transmission chains.” Health providers strive to control Ebola by tracing contacts and monitoring those exposed for 21 days, and targeted use of an experimental vaccine. If conflicts disrupt tracing operations, providers may try mass vaccinations to prevent Ebola’s spread. Reaching 42 percent could provide herd immunity. To accomplish that goal, health teams require security. The government has scheduled elections in December. – YaleGlobal

Harvard Business Review: Containing Ebola

Conflict and people fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo complicate public health responses to a severe Ebola outbreak – mass vaccinations may be required
Ranu S. Dhillon and Devabhaktuni Srikrishna
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Read the article from Harvard Business Review about an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ranu S. Dhillon, MD, is an instructor at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He works on building health systems in developing countries and served as an advisor to the president of Guinea during the Ebola epidemic. He also helped in the medical response to Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Devabhaktuni Srikrishna is the founder of Patient Knowhow, which curates patient educational content on YouTube. He worked on the response to the Ebola outbreak in Guinea.

Read about the Democratic Republic of Congo from UNHCR.

Read about Ebola from WHO:

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25 to 90 percent in past outbreaks.
  • The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests. The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones.
  • Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, infection prevention and control practices, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe and dignified burials and social mobilization.
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