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Concept: Economic Community of West African States


The clinical evaluation of convalescent plasma (CP) for the treatment of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the current outbreak, predominantly affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, was prioritized by the World Health Organization in September 2014. In each of these countries, non-randomized comparative clinical trials were initiated. The Ebola-Tx trial in Conakry, Guinea enrolled 102 patients by July 7, 2015; no severe adverse reactions were noted. The Ebola-CP trial in Sierra Leone and the EVD001 trial in Liberia have included few patients. While no efficacy data are available yet, current field experience supports the safety, acceptability and feasibility of CP as EVD treatment. Longer-term follow-up as well as data from non-trial settings and evidence on the scalability of the intervention are required. CP sourced from within the outbreak is the most readily available source of anti-EVD antibodies. Until the advent of effective antivirals or monoclonal antibodies, CP merits further evaluation.

Concepts: Nigeria, Crab-eating Macaque, West Africa, Viral hemorrhagic fever, Economic Community of West African States, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea


At 6 a.m., our medical team arrives at the Ebola case-management center in the Kailahun district of Sierra Leone to take blood samples. At our 80-bed center here near the borders of Liberia and Guinea, 8 new patients were admitted yesterday, 9 need to have a repeat test 72 hours after their symptoms began, and some we hope to discharge today: at least 18 blood samples to obtain. The center currently houses 64 patients in all, 4 of them children less than 5 years of age. We have already seen 2 patients die today. I have been here for 7 . . .

Concepts: Economic Community of West African States, Kailahun, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone, Kailahun District, Liberia, Mende people, Guinea, Sierra Leone


 In 1976, the first cases of Ebola virus disease in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (then referred to as Zaire) were reported. This article addresses who was responsible for recognizing the disease; recovering, identifying, and naming the virus; and describing the epidemic. Key scientific approaches used in 1976 and their relevance to the 3-country (Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia) West African epidemic during 2013-2016 are presented.

Concepts: Nigeria, Economic Community of West African States, West Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ebola, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone


Despite the building evidence on violence against children globally, almost nothing is known about the violence children with disabilities in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) experience. The prevalence of violence against children with disabilities can be expected to be higher in LMICs where there are greater stigmas associated with having a child with a disability, less resources for families who have children with disabilities, and wider acceptance of the use of corporal punishment to discipline children. This study explores violence experienced by children with disabilities based on data collected from four countries in West Africa- Guinea, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

Concepts: Atlantic slave trade, Guinea, Ghana, Economic Community of West African States, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, West Africa


As the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa continues to grow since its initial recognition as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, an unanswered question is what is the cost of a case of Ebola? Understanding this cost will help decision makers better understand the impact of each case of EVD, benchmark this against that of other diseases, prioritize which cases may require response, and begin to estimate the cost of Ebola outbreaks. To date, the scientific literature has not characterized this cost per case. Therefore, we developed a mathematical model to estimate the cost of an EVD case from the provider and societal perspectives in the three most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Our model estimates the total societal cost of an EVD case with full recovery ranges from $480 to $912, while that of an EVD case not surviving ranges from $5929 to $18 929, varying by age and country. Therefore, as of 10 December 2014, the estimated total societal costs of all reported EVD cases in these three countries range from $82 to potentially over $356 million.

Concepts: Economic Community of West African States, Nigeria, West Africa, Ebola, Guinea, Liberia, Mathematics, Sierra Leone


As of November 2015, the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic that began in West Africa in late 2013 is waning. The human toll includes more than 28,000 Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases and 11,000 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the most heavily-affected countries. We reviewed 66 mathematical modeling studies of the EVD epidemic published in the peer-reviewed literature to assess the key uncertainties models addressed, data used for modeling, public sharing of data and results, and model performance. Based on the review, we suggest steps to improve the use of modeling in future public health emergencies.

Concepts: Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Economic Community of West African States, Guinea, West Africa, Sierra Leone, Liberia


 The current West African outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) began in Guinea in December 2013 and rapidly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. On 20 July 2014, a sick individual flew into Lagos, Nigeria, from Monrovia, Liberia, setting off an outbreak in Lagos and later in Port Harcourt city. The government of Nigeria, supported by the World Health Organization and other partners, mounted a response to the outbreak relying on the polio program experiences and infrastructure. On 20 October 2014, the country was declared free of EVD.

Concepts: Monrovia, Incubation period, Guinea, Economic Community of West African States, West Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria


The 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest on record with 28 616 confirmed, probable and suspected cases and 11 310 deaths officially recorded by 10 June 2016, the true burden probably considerably higher. The case fatality ratio (CFR: proportion of cases that are fatal) is a key indicator of disease severity useful for gauging the appropriate public health response and for evaluating treatment benefits, if estimated accurately. We analysed individual-level clinical outcome data from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone officially reported to the World Health Organization. The overall mean CFR was 62.9% (95% CI: 61.9% to 64.0%) among confirmed cases with recorded clinical outcomes. Age was the most important modifier of survival probabilities, but country, stage of the epidemic and whether patients were hospitalized also played roles. We developed a statistical analysis to detect outliers in CFR between districts of residence and treatment centres (TCs), adjusting for known factors influencing survival and identified eight districts and three TCs with a CFR significantly different from the average. From the current dataset, we cannot determine whether the observed variation in CFR seen by district or treatment centre reflects real differences in survival, related to the quality of care or other factors or was caused by differences in reporting practices or case ascertainment.This article is part of the themed issue ‘The 2013-2016 West African Ebola epidemic: data, decision-making and disease control’.

Concepts: Economic Community of West African States, West Africa, Africa, Guinea, Epidemiology, Liberia, Statistics, Sierra Leone


An EVD outbreak may reduce life expectancy directly (due to high mortality among EVD cases) and indirectly (e.g., due to lower utilization of healthcare and subsequent increases in non-EVD mortality). In this paper, we investigated the direct effects of EVD on life expectancy in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (LSLG thereafter).

Concepts: Nigeria, West Africa, Economic Community of West African States, Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone


The 2014 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the neighbouring West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone represents the most significant setback to the region’s development in over a decade. This study provides evidence on the extent to which economic activity declined and jobs disappeared in Liberia during the outbreak.

Concepts: Atlantic slave trade, Nigeria, Economic Community of West African States, Africa, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, West Africa