Identifying potential Ebola ‘hot spots’ with new tools could prevent future outbreaks

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Image: WHO/Alison Clements-Hunt

More than 2,000 people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo since an Ebola outbreak was declared last August, the second largest such outbreak ever recorded. The number of such outbreaks has ballooned since the disease was discovered in 1976.

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But two new tools for identifying outbreaks could soon prevent those situations from taking place.

A team led by David Redding, PhD, and Kate Jones, PhD, professors at the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research at University College London, created a computer model that predicts where Ebola outbreaks will most likely occur in the future, together with their magnitude and causes.

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While the model can predict where Ebola might strike next, another new tool can help contain the disease when it has already struck. Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave market approval to the OraQuick Ebola Rapid Antigen Test, a powerful diagnostic tool. Instead of taking days to produce a test result from potentially infected individuals, this new test can diagnose Ebola in 30 minutes.

“You identify new hot spots that you didn’t have on your radar before,” [nurse Karin] Huster says.

Read full, original post: To Stop Ebola, Scientists Are Trying to Predict Its Next Target

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