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Re-emergence of Ebola focuses need for global surveillance strategies
Date:4/17/2014

NEW YORK April 17, 2014 EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that focuses on conservation and global public health issues, published a comprehensive review today examining the current state of knowledge of the deadly Ebola and Marburg virus. The review calls for improved global surveillance strategies to combat the emergence of infectious diseases such as the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that has claimed the lives of 122 people in the countries of Guinea and Liberia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the deadly Ebola virus can cause mortality rates up to 90 percent of those individuals who contract the disease. No cure or vaccine exists for Ebola hemorrhagic fever and public health officials are concerned about further spread of the virus in the region.

The virus is transmitted from person to person through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids, but the origin of each outbreak is ultimately linked to wildlife. The consumption of bushmeat in Guinea may possibly serve as the transmission point from wildlife to human populations for the disease. Guinea has forbidden the sale and consumption of bats, which serve as natural reservoirs of the virus, and warned against eating rats and monkeys in its effort to keep the illness from spreading.

Since the late 1970s, Ebola outbreaks have sporadically erupted in various parts of Africa, and experts report this is the worst outbreak in the past 7 years. Historically, Ebola outbreaks have been contained through quarantine and public health measures, but where and when the next outbreak will emerge still remains a mystery. "Our scientists have developed a strategy to predict where the next new viruses from wildlife will emerge and affect people. These zoonotic viruses cause significant loss in life, create panic and disrupt the economics of an entire region," said Dr. Peter Daszak, Disease Ecologist and President of EcoHealth Alliance. "Our research show
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Contact: Anthony M. Ramos
ramos@ecohealthalliance.org
212-380-4469
EcoHealth Alliance
Source:Eurekalert

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