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December 2014

Ebola Virus Disease and Children: What Pediatric Health Care Professionals Need to Know

Author Affiliations
  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(12):1087-1088. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.2835

The largest outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in history is occurring in West Africa. On August 8, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared this outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.1 As of October 8, 2014, 8399 EVD cases (including 416 in health care personnel) with 4033 deaths were reported, although reported cases are likely a substantial underestimate of the outbreak magnitude.2 Most EVD cases have been reported in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, with fewer cases in Nigeria and a single case in Senegal. Although the suspected index case for this outbreak is believed to be a 2-year-old child who died in Guinea in December 2013, limited information is available on the impact of this outbreak on children.3 Cases of EVD were also identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but analyses of viruses suggest that the Democratic Republic of the Congo outbreak is not linked to the wider epidemic. As of October 15, 2014, 3 EVD cases, including 2 health care personnel, had been identified in the United States and 5 EVD cases, including 4 health care personnel, were identified in West Africa and medically evacuated to the United States for further care. This situation is rapidly evolving, and new information will be posted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html) and WHO (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/) websites as it becomes available. Our report is intended to complement information on the CDC webpages, with a focus on what pediatric health care professionals need to know.

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    1 Comment for this article
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    Ebola hysteria
    Michael W. Cater, MD Tustin, CA | Pediatric and Adult Medicine, Tustin, CA
    Thank you for the valuable information. It will help all of us practicing at the primary care level to help dispel the hysteria that has developed as a result of the very few cases that have emerged in this country. I feel the media needs to be more proactive in informing the public that the risk of an epidemic developing in this country is extremely low and the risk of contracting the illness is infinitesimal. The public simple needs to be better informed. Unfortunately, the media is focusing on the actual cases rather than informing the public of the extremely minimal risk.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
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