Clinical Infectious Diseases
BACKGROUND: Detailed information on patient exposure, contact patterns, and discharge status, is rarely available in real time from traditional surveillance systems in the context of an emerging infectious disease outbreak. Here we validate the systematic collection of Internet news reports to characterize epidemiological patterns of Ebola virus disease (EVD) infections during the West African 2014-2015 outbreak.
METHODS: Based on 58 news reports, we analyzed a total of 79 EVD clusters (286 cases) of size ranging from 1 to 33 cases between January 2014 and February 2015 in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The great majority of reported exposures stemmed from contact with family members (57.3%) followed by hospitals (18.2%) and funerals (12.7%). Our data indicated that funeral exposure was significantly more frequent in Sierra Leone (27.3%) followed by Guinea (18.2%) and Liberia (1.8%) (Chi-square test; P
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