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Transmission, Human Population, and Pathogenicity: the Ebola Case in Point

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  • Authors: Rafael Delgado1, Fernando Simón2
  • Editors: Fernando Baquero3, Emilio Bouza4, J.A. Gutiérrez-Fuentes5, Teresa M. Coque6
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Microbiology and Instituto de Investigación i+12, Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain; 2: Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies Coordination, Ministry of Health and CIBERESP, Madrid, Spain; 3: Hospital Ramón y Cajal (IRYCIS), Madrid, Spain; 4: Hospital Ramón y Cajal (IRYCIS), Madrid, Spain; 5: Complutensis University, Madrid, Spain; 6: Hospital Ramón y Cajal (IRYCIS), Madrid, Spain
  • Source: microbiolspec March 2018 vol. 6 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.MTBP-0003-2016
  • Received 18 August 2016 Accepted 10 March 2017 Published 22 March 2018
  • Rafael Delgado, [email protected]
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  • Abstract:

    The 2013–2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been the largest ever of a known disease in a new context that produced an unprecedented impact and is changing the international approach to responding to public health emergencies. The unprecedented scale of the outbreak, the use of advanced technology for detecting and characterizing the infectious agent, along with the opportunity to treat patients in modern facilities have greatly increased our knowledge of the disease and its transmission. Also, for the first time, an important international effort has been deployed to control the spread of the epidemic by providing care to patients and by adopting basic measures of public health control. Apart from supportive treatment and intensive therapy with fluids and electrolytes, no new compounds have been proved to be clinically effective to treat Ebola virus disease; however, a specific vaccine has shown significant protection in clinical trials in Guinea, opening an expectation for controlling future outbreaks.

  • Keywords: filovirus; transmission; Ebola virus; R0; Ebola virus disease; hemorrhagic fever; vaccines; reproductive number

  • Citation: Delgado R, Simón F. 2018. Transmission, Human Population, and Pathogenicity: the Ebola Case in Point. Microbiol Spectrum 6(2):MTBP-0003-2016. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.MTBP-0003-2016.


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The 2013–2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been the largest ever of a known disease in a new context that produced an unprecedented impact and is changing the international approach to responding to public health emergencies. The unprecedented scale of the outbreak, the use of advanced technology for detecting and characterizing the infectious agent, along with the opportunity to treat patients in modern facilities have greatly increased our knowledge of the disease and its transmission. Also, for the first time, an important international effort has been deployed to control the spread of the epidemic by providing care to patients and by adopting basic measures of public health control. Apart from supportive treatment and intensive therapy with fluids and electrolytes, no new compounds have been proved to be clinically effective to treat Ebola virus disease; however, a specific vaccine has shown significant protection in clinical trials in Guinea, opening an expectation for controlling future outbreaks.

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Cases and deaths among health care professionals, Ebola outbreak in West Africa, 2014–2016

Source: microbiolspec March 2018 vol. 6 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.MTBP-0003-2016

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