Ebola

Introduction

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe and acute illness caused by the Ebola virus; it is often fatal if untreated. The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals. It can then spread among humans by human-to-human transmission. There are examples of the disease having crossed borders via air travellers.

The illness was formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever and made its first appearance in 1976 when it caused two outbreaks, one in Sudan and the other in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In past outbreaks the case fatality has been as high as 90%.

Communities play an important part in the control of EVD outbreaks, with disease control reliant on effective case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization. Treatment is largely supportive and symptomatic. As yet there is no licensed treatment that kills the virus and no vaccines for disease prevention.

TDR related research

In 2014 the world faced the worst Ebola epidemic ever. While unplanned, TDR responded to the need for specific contributions to the WHO and global response with three staff who did the following: a 3‐month deployment to coordinate outbreak control in Sierra Leone; ethics review for Ebola trials with the WHO Ethical Review Committee; and contribution to the development of a platform for testing Ebola treatments in West Africa.

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