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Outbreak of ebola virus disease in Guinea: where ecology meets economy.

Bausch DG, Schwarz L - PLoS Negl Trop Dis (2014)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America; United States Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6, Lima, Peru.

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Ebola virus is back, this time in West Africa, with over 350 cases and a 69% case fatality ratio at the time of this writing... The culprit is the Zaire ebolavirus species, the most lethal Ebola virus known, with case fatality ratios up to 90%... The epicenter and site of first introduction is the region of Guéckédou in Guinea's remote southeastern forest region, spilling over into various other regions of Guinea as well as to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone (Figure 1)... (3) Why now? We'll have to wait for the outbreak to conclude and more data analysis to occur to answer these questions in detail, and even then we may never know, but some educated speculation may be illustrative... The Ebolavirus genus is comprised of five species, Zaire, Sudan, Taï Forest, Bundibugyo, and Reston, each associated with a consistent case fatality and more or less well-identified endemic area (Figure 2)... Zaire ebolavirus had been previously found only in three Central African countries—the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, and Gabon... The initial report and phylogenetic analyses on the Guinea outbreak suggested that the Zaire ebolavirus found in Guinea is a distinct strain from that noted in Central Africa, thus suggesting that the virus may not be a newcomer to the region... However, subsequent reworking and interpretations of the limited genetic data have cast some doubt on this conclusion... Field collections and laboratory testing for Ebola viruses of bats collected from the Guinea forest region should shed light on the presence or absence of these various species in the area and possible Ebola virus infection... Biological and ecological factors may drive emergence of the virus from the forest, but clearly the sociopolitical landscape dictates where it goes from there—an isolated case or two or a large and sustained outbreak... The effect of a stalled economy and government is 3-fold... The forest region also shares borders with Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Cote d'Ivoire, three countries suffering civil war in recent decades... Consequently, the region has found itself home to tens of thousands of refugees fleeing these conflicts, adding to both the ecologic and economic burden... Having worked in Guinea for a decade (1998–2008) on research projects based very close to the epicenter of the current Ebola virus outbreak, one of the authors (DGB) witnessed this “de-development” first-hand; on every trip back to Guinea, on every long drive from Conakry to the forest region, the infrastructure seemed to be further deteriorated—the once-paved road was worse, the public services less, the prices higher, the forest thinner (Figures 3 and 4).

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The area known as the Guinea Forest Region, now largely deforested because of logging and clearing and burning of the land for agriculture.Photo credit: Daniel Bausch.
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pntd-0003056-g003: The area known as the Guinea Forest Region, now largely deforested because of logging and clearing and burning of the land for agriculture.Photo credit: Daniel Bausch.

Mentions: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, sadly, fit the bill for susceptibility to more severe outbreaks. While the devastating effects of the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone are evident and well documented, readers may be less familiar with the history of Guinea, where decades of inefficient and corrupt government have left the country in a state of stalled or even retrograde development. Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 178 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index (just behind Liberia [174] and Sierra Leone [177]). More than half of Guineans live below the national poverty line and about 20% live in extreme poverty. The Guinea forest region, traditionally comprised of small and isolated populations of diverse ethnic groups who hold little power and pose little threat to the larger groups closer to the capital, has been habitually neglected, receiving little attention or capital investment. Rather, the region was systematically plundered and the forest decimated by clear-cut logging, leaving the “Guinea Forest Region” largely deforested (Figure 3).


Outbreak of ebola virus disease in Guinea: where ecology meets economy.

Bausch DG, Schwarz L - PLoS Negl Trop Dis (2014)

The area known as the Guinea Forest Region, now largely deforested because of logging and clearing and burning of the land for agriculture.Photo credit: Daniel Bausch.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4117598&req=5

pntd-0003056-g003: The area known as the Guinea Forest Region, now largely deforested because of logging and clearing and burning of the land for agriculture.Photo credit: Daniel Bausch.
Mentions: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, sadly, fit the bill for susceptibility to more severe outbreaks. While the devastating effects of the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone are evident and well documented, readers may be less familiar with the history of Guinea, where decades of inefficient and corrupt government have left the country in a state of stalled or even retrograde development. Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 178 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index (just behind Liberia [174] and Sierra Leone [177]). More than half of Guineans live below the national poverty line and about 20% live in extreme poverty. The Guinea forest region, traditionally comprised of small and isolated populations of diverse ethnic groups who hold little power and pose little threat to the larger groups closer to the capital, has been habitually neglected, receiving little attention or capital investment. Rather, the region was systematically plundered and the forest decimated by clear-cut logging, leaving the “Guinea Forest Region” largely deforested (Figure 3).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America; United States Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6, Lima, Peru.

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

Ebola virus is back, this time in West Africa, with over 350 cases and a 69% case fatality ratio at the time of this writing... The culprit is the Zaire ebolavirus species, the most lethal Ebola virus known, with case fatality ratios up to 90%... The epicenter and site of first introduction is the region of Guéckédou in Guinea's remote southeastern forest region, spilling over into various other regions of Guinea as well as to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone (Figure 1)... (3) Why now? We'll have to wait for the outbreak to conclude and more data analysis to occur to answer these questions in detail, and even then we may never know, but some educated speculation may be illustrative... The Ebolavirus genus is comprised of five species, Zaire, Sudan, Taï Forest, Bundibugyo, and Reston, each associated with a consistent case fatality and more or less well-identified endemic area (Figure 2)... Zaire ebolavirus had been previously found only in three Central African countries—the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, and Gabon... The initial report and phylogenetic analyses on the Guinea outbreak suggested that the Zaire ebolavirus found in Guinea is a distinct strain from that noted in Central Africa, thus suggesting that the virus may not be a newcomer to the region... However, subsequent reworking and interpretations of the limited genetic data have cast some doubt on this conclusion... Field collections and laboratory testing for Ebola viruses of bats collected from the Guinea forest region should shed light on the presence or absence of these various species in the area and possible Ebola virus infection... Biological and ecological factors may drive emergence of the virus from the forest, but clearly the sociopolitical landscape dictates where it goes from there—an isolated case or two or a large and sustained outbreak... The effect of a stalled economy and government is 3-fold... The forest region also shares borders with Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Cote d'Ivoire, three countries suffering civil war in recent decades... Consequently, the region has found itself home to tens of thousands of refugees fleeing these conflicts, adding to both the ecologic and economic burden... Having worked in Guinea for a decade (1998–2008) on research projects based very close to the epicenter of the current Ebola virus outbreak, one of the authors (DGB) witnessed this “de-development” first-hand; on every trip back to Guinea, on every long drive from Conakry to the forest region, the infrastructure seemed to be further deteriorated—the once-paved road was worse, the public services less, the prices higher, the forest thinner (Figures 3 and 4).

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus