Ebola Virus Disease in 2015: A Epidemiological History Open Access

Guest, Lauren Taylor (2015)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/3r074t97b?locale=en


This thesis explores the epidemiological history of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) since it was discovered in 1976. By far the largest ever epidemic of EVD appears to be drawing to a close in West Africa. However, it has entered the most difficult stage--that of total elimination of all Ebola cases in the human population. This is difficult given the remoteness of many communities, their poor access to health services and transportation concerns. However, the region contains more hospital beds, laboratories and health staff than it ever did prior to the epidemic--this fact, combined with the treatment and vaccine trials currently underway in areas where weekly case numbers are still high, finally hints at an end to an epidemic that infected over 25,000 people. The West African Ebola epidemic had devastating consequences on the region both in terms of lives lost and economic impacts. Therefore, it is even more imperative that the lessons learned should serve to reduce the magnitude and scope of future Ebola and other infectious disease epidemics. These include: 1) aggressive treatment including life-support measures can improve survival in some patients, 2)the importance of an immediate and efficient response by UN agencies, and 3) increased awareness of the importance of improving health systems in low resource countries to prevent and control future epidemics. Researchers who worked on an Ebola epidemic in Uganda several years prior to the West African epidemic concluded that there was a major need for improved surveillance, reporting and diagnostics to prevent further epidemics of this deadly virus. Their advice went unheeded, but perhaps the devastation of many West African communities will allow appropriate distribution of financial and personnel resources to prevent such an epidemic in the future. The West African Ebola response has fostered new partnerships between pharmaceutical companies, researchers and governmental organizations to develop and push through promising treatment and vaccine candidates for Ebola. Although many of these will come too late to be of much use in the current epidemic, they have the potential to protect high-risk communities in Central and West Africa from future Ebola epidemics.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction. 1

Chapter 2: Epidemiology of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. 5

Chapter 3: Epidemiology of Ebola Virus Disease. 19

Chapter 4: Previous Ebola Virus Disease Epidemics. 23

Chapter 5: Current Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic. 31

Chapter 6: Control & Prevention Measures. 46

Chapter 7: The Role of the Media & Politics in the Current Epidemic. 55

Chapter 8: Vaccine & Treatment Possibilities. 62

Chapter 9: Conclusion. 74

Chapter 10: Epilogue. 77

References. 79

About this Master's Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files