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Ecohealth. 2016 Mar;13(1):200-12. doi: 10.1007/s10393-016-1100-5. Epub 2016 Feb 25.

Lessons from the Ebola Outbreak: Action Items for Emerging Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response.

Author information

1
Department of Global and Community Health, College of Health and Human Services, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive 5B7, Fairfax, VA, 22030, USA. kjacobse@gmu.edu.
2
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, College of Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA.
3
National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, School of Systems Biology, College of Science, George Mason University, Manassas, VA, USA.
4
Center for the Study of Chronic Metabolic Diseases, School of Systems Biology, College of Science, George Mason University, Manassas, VA, USA.
5
Department of Computational and Data Sciences, College of Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA.
6
Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science, College of Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA.
7
Department of Global and Community Health, College of Health and Human Services, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive 5B7, Fairfax, VA, 22030, USA.
8
Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, School of Systems Biology, College of Science, George Mason University, Manassas, VA, USA.
9
Department of Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA.
10
Department of Biology, College of Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA.
11
Department of Mathematical Sciences, College of Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA.

Abstract

As the Ebola outbreak in West Africa wanes, it is time for the international scientific community to reflect on how to improve the detection of and coordinated response to future epidemics. Our interdisciplinary team identified key lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak that can be clustered into three areas: environmental conditions related to early warning systems, host characteristics related to public health, and agent issues that can be addressed through the laboratory sciences. In particular, we need to increase zoonotic surveillance activities, implement more effective ecological health interventions, expand prediction modeling, support medical and public health systems in order to improve local and international responses to epidemics, improve risk communication, better understand the role of social media in outbreak awareness and response, produce better diagnostic tools, create better therapeutic medications, and design better vaccines. This list highlights research priorities and policy actions the global community can take now to be better prepared for future emerging infectious disease outbreaks that threaten global public health and security.

KEYWORDS:

Ebola infection; emerging infectious diseases; epidemics; one health; public health; surveillance

PMID:
26915507
DOI:
10.1007/s10393-016-1100-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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