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What do we really fear? The epidemiological characteristics of Ebola and our preparedness
Moran Ki
Epidemiol Health. 2014;36:e2014014.   Published online August 18, 2014
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Ebola virus disease (hereafter Ebola) has a high fatality rate; currently lacks a treatment or vaccine with proven safety and efficacy, and thus many people fear this infection. As of August 13, 2014, 2,127 patients across four West African countries have been infected with the Ebola virus over the past nine months. Among these patients, approximately 1 in 2 has subsequently died from the disease. In response, the World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. However, Ebola is only transmitted by patients who already present symptoms of the disease, and infection only occurs upon direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an Ebola patient. Consequently, transmission of the outbreak can be contained through careful monitoring for fever among persons who have visited, or come into contact with persons from, the site of the outbreak. Thus, patients suspected of presenting symptoms characteristic of Ebola should be quarantined. To date, South Korea is not equipped with the special containment clinical units and biosafety level 4 facilities required to contain the outbreak of a fatal virus disease, such as Ebola. Therefore, it is necessary for South Korea to make strategies to the outbreak by using present facilities as quickly as possible. It is also imperative that the government establish suitable communication with its citizens to prevent the spread of uninformed fear and anxiety regarding the Ebola outbreak.
Korean summary
에볼라 바이러스병은 치명률이 높고 효과와 안전성을 모두 검증받은 치료제나 백신이 없어 많은 사람들이 두려워하고 있는 질환이다. 이번에 서아프리카에서 9개월째 지속된 유행으로 8월 13일까지 4개국에서 2127명의 환자가 발생하였고 1145명이 사망하여 2명중 1명꼴인 높은 치명률을 보이고 있다. 이에 WHO에서는 국제보건긴급상황을 선포하였다. 하지만 에볼라 바이러스는 증상이 나타난 이후에 전염되며 환자의 혈액이나 체액에 접촉한 경우에만 감염이 된다. 따라서 유행지역을 방문하였거나 접촉한 사람을 대상으로 발열감시와 함께 환자 격리를 철저히 시행한다면 유행 전파를 막을 수 있다. 한국은 아직 에볼라 바이러스와 같은 질환에 적합한 격리병상이나 실험실 안전 4등급 시설이 없다. 이에 대한 대비를 빠른 시간에 마련하여 대응하는 것이 필요하며, 국민과의 소통을 통해서 막연한 불안과 두려움을 예방하는 것이 무엇보다 중요하다.


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Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health