By Kieran Guilbert
West Africa is most at risk of fatal haemorrhagic fever epidemics, including Ebola, researchers said on Wednesday, calling for greater preparedness to save lives.
A study in The Lancet medical journal assessed the likelihood of four viruses - Ebola, Lassa, Marburg and Crimean-Congo - spreading on the continent, charting progress from a first human case through to a potential pandemic.
The world’s worst recorded Ebola outbreak ravaged Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2013 and 2016, killing about 11,300 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The viruses, which are often transmitted by rodents and bats, can cause fever, vomiting and bleeding, are often fatal.
By mapping high risk areas, African nations can better prepare for potential epidemics by improving surveillance of animals that transmit the diseases, rapidly detecting initial cases and investing in stronger health systems, the study said.
Simon Hay, Professor of Global Health and Director of Geospatial Science at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, is quoted in this story.