• The 2014–2015 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: Hands On

      Vetter, P; Dayer, JA; Schibler, M; Allegranzi, B; Brown, D; Calmy, A; Christie, D; Eremin, S; Hagon, O; Henderson, D; et al. (BioMed Central, 2016-05-05)
      The International Consortium for Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC) organises a biannual conference (ICPIC) on various subjects related to infection prevention, treatment and control. During ICPIC 2015, held in Geneva in June 2015, a full one-day session focused on the 2014–2015 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa. This article is a non-exhaustive compilation of these discussions. It concentrates on lessons learned and imagining a way forward for the communities most affected by the epidemic. The reader can access video recordings of all lectures delivered during this one-day session, as referenced. Topics include the timeline of the international response, linkages between the dynamics of the epidemic and infection prevention and control, the importance of community engagement, and updates on virology, diagnosis, treatment and vaccination issues. The paper also includes discussions from public health, infectious diseases, critical care and infection control experts who cared for patients with EVD in Africa, in Europe, and in the United Sates and were involved in Ebola preparedness in both high- and low-resource settings and countries. This review concludes that too little is known about the pathogenesis and treatment of EVD, therefore basic and applied research in this area are urgently required. Furthermore, it is clear that epidemic preparedness needs to improve globally, in particular through the strengthening of health systems at local and national levels. There is a strong need for culturally sensitive approaches to public health which could be designed and delivered by social scientists and medical professionals working together. As of December 2015, this epidemic killed more than 11,000 people and infected more than 28,000; it has also generated more than 17,000 survivors and orphans, many of whom face somatic and psychological complications. The continued treatment and rehabilitation of these people is a public health priority, which also requires an integration of specific medical and social science approaches, not always available in West Africa.