Infectious Diseases of Poverty
[Accessed 10 January 2015]
Letter to the Editor
Are surveillance response systems enough to effectively combat and contain the Ebola outbreak?
Viroj Wiwanitkit, Ernest Tambo, Emmanuel Chidiebere Ugwu, Jeane Yonkeu Ngogang and Xiao-Nong Zhou
Infectious Diseases of Poverty 2015, 4:7 doi:10.1186/2049-9957-4-7
Published: 9 January 2015
The epidemic of the Ebola virus infection in West Africa in 2014 has become a worldwide concern. Due to the nature of the disease, which has an extremely high mortality potential, this outbreak has received much attention from researchers and public health workers. An article entitled “Need of surveillance response systems to combat Ebola outbreaks and other emerging infectious diseases in African countries,” published in the journal Infectious Diseases of Poverty in August 2014, concluded that a good surveillance system to monitor disease transmission dynamics is essential and needs to be implemented to combat the outbreak. Issues regarding the limitation of the passive surveillance system have been raised by Professor Viroj Wiwanitkit, who emphasizes the need for an active disease detection system such as mass screening in this letter to editor. The different function between passive and active surveillance system in combating the disease outbreak has been agreed upon by Ernest Tambo et al. There have also been discussions between Wiwanitkit and Tambo et al. on the following issues: (i) the extreme resource limitations in outbreak areas, (ii) new technology to improve the available systems. Further recommendations echoed in this letter to editor by Wiwanitkit, who outlined the research priorities on the development of appropriate combined disease monitoring systems and good policy to allocate available tools and technology in resource-limited settings for epidemic scenarios. The journal’s editor, Professor Xiao-Nong Zhou, has therefore collated all parts of these discussions between authors in this letter to editor paper, in order to further promote research on a combined active and passive system to combat the present extending Ebola outbreak.