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Role of contact tracing in containing the 2014 Ebola outbreak: a review

Shrivastava Saurabh
Shrivastava Prateek


Background: The 2014 outbreak of Ebola virus disease which emerged in the month of March in the year 2014 in Guinea has been declared as a public health emergency of international concern.

Objectives: The objectives of the review article are to assess the role of contact tracing in the Ebola outbreak and to identify the challenges faced by the health workers while performing contact tracing.

Methods: An extensive search of all materials related to the Ebola outbreak and contact tracing was carried out in PubMed, Medline, World Health Organization website and Google Scholar search engines. Keywords used in the search included Ebola virus disease, West-Africa, contact tracing, World Health Organization. Overall 60 articles were selected and included in the discussion.

Results: Contact tracing is an important strategy in epidemiology and refers to the identification and diagnosis of those individuals who have come in contact with an infected person. It ultimately aims to reduce the time span required to detect and treat a case of an infectious disease and hence significantly minimize the risk of transmission to the subsequent susceptible individuals. In-fact, contact tracing continues to remain an important measure, as it aids the epidemiologist in containing the infection.

Conclusion: The strategy of contact tracing has a great potential to significantly reduce the incidence of cases of Ebola virus disease. However, its success is eventually determined by the level of trust between the community and the public health system and the quality of the diagnostic & treatment services.

Keywords: Ebola virus disease, West-Africa, contact tracing, World Health Organization