, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 200–212 | Cite as

Lessons from the Ebola Outbreak: Action Items for Emerging Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response

  • Kathryn H. JacobsenEmail author
  • A. Alonso Aguirre
  • Charles L. Bailey
  • Ancha V. Baranova
  • Andrew T. Crooks
  • Arie Croitoru
  • Paul L. Delamater
  • Jhumka Gupta
  • Kylene Kehn-Hall
  • Aarthi Narayanan
  • Mariaelena Pierobon
  • Katherine E. Rowan
  • J. Reid Schwebach
  • Padmanabhan Seshaiyer
  • Dann M. Sklarew
  • Anthony Stefanidis
  • Peggy Agouris


As the Ebola outbreak in West Africa wanes, it is time for the international scientific community to reflect on how to improve the detection of and coordinated response to future epidemics. Our interdisciplinary team identified key lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak that can be clustered into three areas: environmental conditions related to early warning systems, host characteristics related to public health, and agent issues that can be addressed through the laboratory sciences. In particular, we need to increase zoonotic surveillance activities, implement more effective ecological health interventions, expand prediction modeling, support medical and public health systems in order to improve local and international responses to epidemics, improve risk communication, better understand the role of social media in outbreak awareness and response, produce better diagnostic tools, create better therapeutic medications, and design better vaccines. This list highlights research priorities and policy actions the global community can take now to be better prepared for future emerging infectious disease outbreaks that threaten global public health and security.


Ebola infection emerging infectious diseases epidemics surveillance one health public health 


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Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn H. Jacobsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Alonso Aguirre
    • 2
  • Charles L. Bailey
    • 3
  • Ancha V. Baranova
    • 2
    • 4
  • Andrew T. Crooks
    • 5
  • Arie Croitoru
    • 6
  • Paul L. Delamater
    • 6
  • Jhumka Gupta
    • 1
  • Kylene Kehn-Hall
    • 3
  • Aarthi Narayanan
    • 3
  • Mariaelena Pierobon
    • 7
  • Katherine E. Rowan
    • 8
  • J. Reid Schwebach
    • 9
  • Padmanabhan Seshaiyer
    • 10
  • Dann M. Sklarew
    • 2
  • Anthony Stefanidis
    • 6
  • Peggy Agouris
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Global and Community Health, College of Health and Human ServicesGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science and Policy, College of ScienceGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, School of Systems Biology, College of ScienceGeorge Mason UniversityManassasUSA
  4. 4.Center for the Study of Chronic Metabolic Diseases, School of Systems Biology, College of ScienceGeorge Mason UniversityManassasUSA
  5. 5.Department of Computational and Data Sciences, College of ScienceGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  6. 6.Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science, College of ScienceGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  7. 7.Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, School of Systems Biology, College of ScienceGeorge Mason UniversityManassasUSA
  8. 8.Department of Communication, College of Humanities and Social SciencesGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  9. 9.Department of Biology, College of ScienceGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  10. 10.Department of Mathematical Sciences, College of ScienceGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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