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An educational intervention to minimise fear during the 2014 Ebola outbreak
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe, highly infectious and often rapidly fatal zoonotic disease that was first described almost 40 years ago, which, to date, has no specific treatment, and vaccine trials have not been conclusive.1 The unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa began suddenly in early 2014 with dire consequences to the already weak healthcare system of the affected countries.2 ,3 This outbreak has been the most devastating, recording more cases and deaths than all 33 previous outbreaks combined.2 There have been many publications about this Ebola outbreak, however, few have examined Ebola through the lens of African Scientists, and even fewer regarding the epidemiology of fear during the 2014 EVD outbreak.4–13 The aim of this commentary is to describe the importance of building a ‘Just in Time’ (JIT) scientific Ebola lecture for global circulation to reduce the epidemic of fear and uncertainty in global knowledge of EVD, and to describe how we in Africa viewed the Ebola outbreak by reviewing its occurrence, limited spread and containment in Nigeria.
The EVD outbreak is a reminder that we live in a shared world with shared vulnerability and risk of communicable disease transmission.14 Hence, the international transmission of the disease may be facilitated by ease of travel and it was feared that its spread might rapidly evolve into a pandemic not only in Africa but also worldwide.8 ,15 ,16 But this eventuality was curtailed because affected countries were required to strengthen their surveillance systems and enforce exit screening of all individuals at international ports (land, air and sea).17 Moreover, there is low probability of EVD transmission during air travel and the eventual diffusion of EVD to developed countries is minimal due to the better-organised health systems and resource availability.17 However, …
Contributors The authors have made equal contribution in the drafting of the manuscript and approved the final draft submitted for publication.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.