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The Ebola Epidemic in West Africa: Proceedings of a Workshop (2016)

Chapter: Appendix D: Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Ebola Epidemic in West Africa: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23653.
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D

Statement of Task

Building on earlier workshops on severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2002, the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009, and the emergence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in the Arabian Peninsula, an ad hoc committee will host a public workshop on the Ebola hemorrhagic fever epidemic in Africa to inform the Forum on Microbial Threats and other participants about recent developments in the incidence, prevalence, and intervention strategies being employed to mitigate this disease in the face of an increasingly interconnected world. The public workshop will feature invited presentations and discussions that will focus on such potential topics as the source(s) and spread of this disease from its epicenter to other countries in West Africa; factors driving the unprecedented scale of this outbreak; factors impeding country responses; whether the international community (including the United States) has responded in an effective and coordinated manner to lessen the geographic spread of this disease to other parts of Africa and beyond; and prospects for the development of treatments against a genomically evolving viral target. An ad hoc committee will plan and conduct the 2-day public workshop, and an individually authored Proceedings of a Workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional policy and procedures.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Ebola Epidemic in West Africa: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23653.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Ebola Epidemic in West Africa: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23653.
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Page 105
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Ebola Epidemic in West Africa: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23653.
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The most recent Ebola epidemic that began in late 2013 alerted the entire world to the gaps in infectious disease emergency preparedness and response. The regional outbreak that progressed to a significant public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) in a matter of months killed 11,310 and infected more than 28,616. While this outbreak bears some unique distinctions to past outbreaks, many characteristics remain the same and contributed to tragic loss of human life and unnecessary expenditure of capital: insufficient knowledge of the disease, its reservoirs, and its transmission; delayed prevention efforts and treatment; poor control of the disease in hospital settings; and inadequate community and international responses.

Recognizing the opportunity to learn from the countless lessons of this epidemic, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop in March 2015 to discuss the challenges to successful outbreak responses at the scientific, clinical, and global health levels. Workshop participants explored the epidemic from multiple perspectives, identified important questions about Ebola that remained unanswered, and sought to apply this understanding to the broad challenges posed by Ebola and other emerging pathogens, to prevent the international community from being taken by surprise once again in the face of these threats. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

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