Study: West Africa at Risk of Ebola, Similar Epidemics

DAKAR, SENEGAL West Africa is most at risk of fatal hemorrhagic fever epidemics, including Ebola, researchers said Wednesday, calling for greater preparedness to save lives.

A study in The Lancet medical journal assessed the likelihood of four viruses � Ebola, Lassa, Marburg and Crimean-Congo � spreading on the continent, charting progress from a first human case through to a potential pandemic.

The world's worst recorded Ebola outbreak ravaged Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2013 and 2016, killing about 11,300 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The viruses, which are often transmitted by rodents and bats, and can cause fever, vomiting and bleeding, are often fatal.

Preparation is key

By mapping high risk areas, African nations can better prepare for potential epidemics by improving surveillance of animals that transmit the diseases, rapidly detecting initial cases and investing in stronger health systems, the study said.

This study's framework provides an important tool for pinpointing where local surveillance and pre-emptive countermeasures are most needed, said Simon Hay, a professor of global health at the University of Washington.

As we have seen with Ebola, it is absolutely vital to prevent or stop epidemics at the earliest possible stages, he said in a statement.

Source: Voice of America

Related Post