OK, not exactly new new, but certainly newish. This post is part of my new attempt to update my blog more with stories about science, research, and education in an attempt to avoid the vicious cycle of anxiety and depression that comes from spending too much time reading the news and engaging in social media.
Our paper on the prevalence of asymptomatic Ebola cases in Sierra Leone was published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases on 15 November. In it, we show that nearly 10% of a sample of people from an Ebola hotspot in Kono District, Sierra Leone, tested positive for Ebola virus antibodies despite having reported no symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease.
The West African Ebola epidemic of 2014-2015 was the biggest outbreak of the disease ever recorded, with over 28,000 reported cases. Our results suggest that the total number of cases may have been quite a bit more than this. They also suggest that Ebola is, as we suspected, like other pathogens and causes a wide variety of clinical manifestations.
The paper received quite a bit of media attention from outlets such as NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The LA Times, and Gizmodo.
This work was led by my rock-star Ph.D. student, Gene Richardson and involved a great many collaborators. It was a great honor to be able to publish with such luminaries as George Rutherford, Megan Murray, and Paul Farmer. With several papers in the works or already submitted and ongoing research, I'm really looking forward to more results in the near future!