Role of contact tracing in containing the 2014 Ebola outbreak

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Contact tracing cannot be a successful tool of disease management without a coherent relationship between the local communities and public health authorities and an adequate health care system. 

Contact tracing is the act of “identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in order to prevent further transmissions”. Once individuals who have had contact with confirmed cases have been identified via interviews of those affected, they are further investigated, monitored, and supported via follow-up team visits.

Sixty articles were selected to look at the role of ‘contact tracing’ in the management of EVD transmission and to identify obstacles previous practices faced during the management of the West Africa Ebola virus outbreak in 2014. Granting rapid identification and response to those who are at risk or has been infected without the presence of laboratory evidence have been beneficial during disease management, however, the lack of focus on establishing an efficient surveillance networking, has led to subsequent secondary cases. Therefore, successful contract tracing requires a coherent relationship between local communities and public health authorities, and an adequate health system.

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