Did Authorities Use the Wrong Approach to Stop Ebola?
TUBMANBURG, LIBERIA - JANUARY 29: A regional health worker takes the temperature of a travelers at a highway checkpoint between Monserrado and Bomi counties on January 29, 2015 near Tubmanburg, Liberia. The two counties are currently the only ones with Ebola patients left in Liberia, where the total number of new cases has dropped into the single digits. Health workers are trying to prevent the movement of any remaining cases as they move to fully eradicate the virus from Liberia. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Did Authorities Use the Wrong Approach to Stop Ebola?

It’s known that the response to the most recent Ebola outbreak, which as of Tuesday had infected more than 27,000 people and killed 11,130, was far too slow. Now, a new study suggests that even once they got started, their approach to curbing the spread wasn’t the most efficient or effective.

One of the staples of infectious disease outbreak responses was contact tracing: finding everyone who comes in direct contact with a sick person. And it makes sense that health authorities would employ that in this outbreak, since it’s proven in the past to be an effective way to contain the spread of a virus. However, experts at the New England Complex Systems Institute released new research Tuesday that argues contact tracing wasn’t the best approach.

Yaneer Bar-Yam, founding president of the Institute, and his colleagues conducted in-depth mathematical simulations that found that a community-wide response that monitors entire groups of people—rather than tracking down individuals who may or may not have been exposed to the virus via an infected person they had contact with—could have been more efficient.

Source: Did Authorities Use the Wrong Approach to Stop Ebola? | TIME

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