Medical anthropology study of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Liberia/West Africa
The current outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa (Guinea Conakry,
Liberia and Sierra Leone) is causing anxiety, fear and panic for communities in these three countries, the deadliest in years with the majority of deaths occurring in Guinea and Sierra Leone. It is spreading faster than health services can cope, with many people hiding from services, refusing to turn bodies over to burial teams and government systems failing to respond when called upon. People flee to areas they deem safe, carrying the virus and its consequences with them. In addition, deeply rooted cultural practices, such as those around death and burial, can contribute to transmission. The WHO is leading the response to the outbreak, including addressing areas of social mobilization and risk communication. This study was carried out to better understand the local beliefs and practices likely to enhance or hinder efforts to respond to the outbreak in Liberia.