Contagious Disease

Economic burden of the Ebola epidemic larger than previously estimated

A very timely paper by my PRECISIONheor colleague Caroline Huber on the economic burden of Ebola in West Africa in 2014:

Current estimates of the economic burden of the [2014 West Africa Ebola virus disease (EVD)] outbreak range from $2.8 to $32.6 billion in lost gross domestic product. We estimated the comprehensive economic and social burden from the 2014 EVD outbreak to be $53.19 billion (2014 USD). The most significant component, $18.8 billion, was deaths from non-Ebola causes.

A key point here is not only did Ebola have direct health consequences for patients infected with Ebola, but patients with other diseases were not being treated due to the focus on Ebola and thus suffered worse health and economic outcomes. Additionally, the impact on people’s day-to-day lives was significant.

Education also was significantly impacted by the outbreak, as schools were closed for approximately 33 weeks for the estimated 4.7 million school children in the affected countries.

An important study for better understanding the economic impacts of an epidemic. Clearly relevant to today’s COVID-19 crisis.


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