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The Fight against Lassa Fever in Ebonyi State, Nigeria: A Clash of the People’s Culture and Broadcast Media Campaign

Ebonyi State of Nigeria is among the states where the incidence of Lassa Fever has become endemic; and has consequently led to the death of many people including health practitioners in the state. To mobilise the people against the disease, government and stakeholders in the health sector resorted to health literacy campaigns through Ebonyi Broadcasting […]

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“We Know Who is Eating the Ebola Money!”: Corruption, the State, and the Ebola Response

Sierra Leonean production of knowledge about Ebola was, in large part, production of knowledge about “who ate the Ebola money.” This article traces people’s responses to the Ebola crisis through a number of different moments, at each point reflecting on how their concerns about how Ebola money was being spent illuminate their expectations of their […]

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Understanding Framings and Perceptions of Spillover: Preventing Future Outbreaks of Bat-Borne Zoonoses?

Bats provide many ecosystem services and have intrinsic value. They also act as host reservoirs for some viruses. Several studies have linked zoonotic diseases to bats, raising questions about the risks bats pose, especially to people living close to bat roosts. Through a series of case studies undertaken in three communities, the purpose of this […]

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Socio-cultural Determinants of Human-Bat Interaction in Rural Ghana

Bats are known to be a natural reservoir for a lot of disease pathogens and can spread several diseases. All 11 genera of fruit bat found in West Africa are found in Ghana, and human-bat interactions are common. However, there is a dearth of knowledge about the socio-cultural factors that shape these interactions. This paper […]

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Missing Bodies and Secret Funerals: The Production of “Safe and Dignified Burials” in the Liberian Ebola Crisis

During the height of the Ebola crisis in West Africa, public health responders and the international media focused on dead bodies as sites of disease transmission when early contact tracing discovered the relationship between attendance at funerals and emerging clusters of new cases. Anthropologists were central to the emergence of new protocols for “safe and […]

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Epidemics (Especially Ebola)

Anthropology’s response to the West African Ebola epidemic was one of the most rapid and expansive anthropological interventions to a global health emergency in the discipline’s history. This article sets forth the size and scale of the anthropological response and describes the protagonists, interventions, and priorities for anthropological engagement. It takes an inclusive approach to […]

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Emerging Disease or Emerging Diagnosis?: Lassa Fever and Ebola in Sierra Leone

It has become routine to attribute the tragedy of the West African Ebola epidemic to inexperience and lack of knowledge. The states and citizens of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were portrayed as entirely unfamiliar with Ebola and therefore without relevant knowledge. The simplicity of this narrative is disturbed by the experience of Lassa Fever, […]

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Ebola Through a Glass, Darkly: Ways of Knowing the State and Each Other

The Ebola epidemic unfolded in radically divergent manners in two neighboring villages in Sierra Leone, with one recording 40 cases and 20 deaths and the other recording zero cases, though they are located only 100 meters apart. Presented with identical information about Ebola’s cause and modes of transmission, one chief reacted by attempting to shield […]

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Historical Parallels, Ebola Virus Disease and Cholera: Understanding Community Distrust and Social Violence with Epidemics

In the three West African countries most affected by the recent Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak, resistance to public health measures contributed to the startling speed and persistence of this epidemic in the region. But how do we explain this resistance, and how have people in these communities understood their actions? By comparing these recent […]

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Engaging ‘Communities’: Anthropological Insights from the West African Ebola Epidemic

The recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa highlights how engaging with the sociocultural dimensions of epidemics is critical to mounting an effective outbreak response. Community engagement was pivotal to ending the epidemic and will be to post-Ebola recovery, health system strengthening and future epidemic preparedness and response. Extensive literatures in the social sciences have emphasized […]

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