'Containment strategies for Ebola rupture fundamental features of social, political and religious life. Control efforts that involve local people and appreciate their perspectives, social structures and institutions are therefore vital.
The focus of current news stories is on the development of new drugs that *might* reduce mortality in Ebola. (One of these, ZMapp, has recently been abandoned amid rumours that it costs $100,000 for a course of treatment.) We should not forget that most deaths could be avoided through *existing* supportive measures, in particular fluid replacement. It is no accident that death rates from those treated in West Africa were as high as 80%, while those treated in the USA and other high-income countries have been close to zero.
'Public health responses to the Ebola crisis neglected to build trust among affected people, and more must be done to engage with the 'human factor' when disease outbreaks occur, anthropologist Heidi Larson warns in this audio interview.