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Rapid interventions key to preventing Ebola outbreak

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  • Rapid interventions key to preventing Ebola outbreak

    News report
    or a good discussion of the paper at Science Blog here

    Full Paper "Transmission dynamics and control of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in Nigeria, July-September, 2014," published today in Eurosurveillance

    Excerpt of news summary

    researchers used epidemic modeling to project the size of the outbreak in Nigeria if control interventions had been implemented during various time periods after the initial case and estimated how many cases had thus been prevented by early initiation of interventions.

    Control measures enacted in Nigeria included all people showing Ebola symptoms being held in an isolation ward if they had contact with the initial case. Once Ebola was confirmed through testing, people with Ebola were moved to a treatment center.

    Asymptomatic individuals were separated from those showing symptoms and those who tested negative without symptoms were discharged. People who tested negative, but showed symptoms -- fever, vomiting, sore throat and diarrhea -- were observed and discharged after 21 days if they were free of symptoms, while being kept apart from people who tested positive for the disease.

    "The swift control of the outbreak in Nigeria was likely facilitated by early detection of the initial case in combination with intense tracing efforts of all subsequent contacts that the person had after developing Ebola," said Folorunso Oludayo Fasina, a senior scientist and lead author of the study at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. "By contrast, the initial outbreak in Guinea remained undetected for several weeks, facilitating the spread of the virus to Sierra Leone and Liberia where the inability to track and contain infectious individuals compounded the situation and resulted in an uncontrolled epidemic."

    Ebola transmission is dramatically influenced by how rapidly control measures are put in place, as researchers found that the projected effect of control interventions in Nigeria ranged from 15-106 cases when interventions are put in place on day 3; 20-178 cases when implemented on day 10; 23-282 cases on day 20; 60-666 cases on day 30; 39-1599 cases on day 40; and 93-2771 on day 50.