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From Ebola outbreak to covid-19 pandemic: From previous lesson learned to present actions in resource-limited Africa

 Department of Community Medicine, Dr. DY Patil University, Pune, Maharashtra, India; Department of Biological Science, Joseph Ayobabalola University, Ikeji-Arakeji, Nigeria

Date of Submission12-Apr-2020
Date of Decision30-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance30-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Viroj Wiwanitkit,
Department of Community Medicine, Dr. DY Patil University, Pune, Maharashtra

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_177_20

How to cite this URL:
Wiwanitkit V. From Ebola outbreak to covid-19 pandemic: From previous lesson learned to present actions in resource-limited Africa. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2021 Jun 13]. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=309332

Outbreak of emerging infection is usually an important problem in public health. In Africa, the resource limitation is an actual challenge for the management of disease outbreaks. Ebola is an important and illustrative infection. It affected Africa and is still an important disease under surveillance. Adding to this, the emerging COVID-19 is an important new problem for Africa. In 2020, COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Asia, Europe, America, Oceania, and Africa. Applying lessons learned from previous outbreaks, the present COVID-19 crisis is interesting.[1] Limitation of resources in the nation might have contributed to increased risk, particularly to health workers in previous epidemics. Prior experience can mitigate this problem in the present pandemic. Preparedness might be planned based on prior experience with better results in containment of the present pandemic.

A basic question is which lessons should be extracted from previous situation for the application in the new crisis. First, reappraisal on the previous situation is needed. Markwel et al. mentioned that “Given the narrow window of opportunity to prepare for a surge of COVID-19 presentations, there is an immediate need to reflect and learn from previous experiences.”[2]

Ebola has a higher mortality comparing to COVID-19. The ways that the disease could be managed in the previous Ebola outbreak should be systematically analyzed. For management of the present COVID-19 crisis, use of prior experience and data from previous scenario can enable adaptation to the present problem.[3] COVID-19 has a wider and rapid spread compared to Ebola. Therefore, the successful method for controlling of Ebola might or might not be effective in the management of COVID-19. Intensifying of preventive measures might be needed.

Nevertheless, a basic general rule of outbreak management should not be forgotten. For any new disease, good surveillance and strict control are important. Practitioner has to update knowledge and follow universal precautions. This is a basic concept that should be used regardless there is an outbreak of an emerging infection or not. Lesson learned from previous problem is the clue for the present problem, but lesson might or might not be sufficient for successful management of the present situation without proper adaptation.[4] Previous situation is history and useful as a reference, but flexibility is required corresponding to the dynamicity of the present pandemic each day revealing new facets.

  References Top

Utilizing the Experience of Containment of the Ebola Outbreak in the Fight against the Corona Virus Disease 2019 Pandemic: Democratic Republic of Congo. Med J Dr DY Patil Univ. (In Press).  Back to cited text no. 1
Markwell A, Mitchell R, Wright AL, Brown AF. Clinical and ethical challenges for emergency departments during communicable disease outbreaks: Can lessons from Ebola virus disease be applied to the COVID-19 pandemic? Emerg Med Australas 2020;32:520-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Yi Y, Lagniton PN, Ye S, Li E, Xu RH. COVID-19: What has been learned and to be learned about the novel coronavirus disease. Int J Biol Sci 2020;16:1753-66.  Back to cited text no. 3
Agyeman AA, Laar A, Ofori-Asenso R. Will COVID-19 be a litmus test for post-Ebola Sub-Saharan Africa? R J Med Virol. 2020:10.1002/jmv.25780.doi: 10.1002/jmv.25780 [Epub ahead of print].  Back to cited text no. 4


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