Effectively communicating the uncertainties surrounding Ebola virus transmission

Andy Kilianski, Nicholas Evans

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    The current Ebola virus outbreak has highlighted the uncertainties surrounding many aspects of Ebola virus virology, including routes of transmission. The scientific community played a leading role during the outbreak'potentially, the largest of its kind'as many of the questions surrounding ebola viruses have only been interrogated in the laboratory. Scientists provided an invaluable resource for clinicians, public health officials, policy makers, and the lay public in understanding the progress of Ebola virus disease and the continuing outbreak. Not all of the scientific communication, however, was accurate or effective. There were multiple instances of published articles during the height of the outbreak containing potentially misleading scientific language that spurred media overreaction and potentially jeopardized preparedness and policy decisions at critical points. Here, we use articles declaring the potential for airborne transmission of Ebola virus as a case study in the inaccurate reporting of basic science, and we provide recommendations for improving the communication about unknown aspects of disease during public health crises.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-5
    Number of pages5
    JournalPLoS Pathogens
    Volume11
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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