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Chapter Two: West Africa Ebola Epidemic 

Abstract 

In late 2013, an Ebola outbreak began in Guinea, quickly growing to become the largest Ebola epidemic on record. Widespread transmission occurred in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone with imported cases and limited transmission occurring in other countries, including the United States. The absence of approved medical countermeasures (MCMs) and a severely limited supply of investigational drugs—in early stages of development and with limited production capacity—compounded delays in the global response to the epidemic. Several of the major communications challenges for the West Africa Ebola epidemic concerned the development, testing, and use of investigational MCMs. Questions arose in the media, public, government, and even the scientific community regarding the status of individual—often highly publicized—MCMs, specifically calling for increased transparency for the testing, approval, and production processes; challenging traditional requirements for testing; and questioning allocation of limited supplies of these products in the context of the growing Ebola epidemic. READ FULL CHAPTER