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Dr. Anne Rimoin, associate professor and acting vice chair of FSPH's Department of Epidemiology, commented May 17 in a Wired Magazine article about international medical responses to the recent return of Ebola to central Africa.
Epidemiologist Anne Rimoin’s UCLA-DRC Research Program was already working on mapping parts of the country to help with disease surveillance, so her team has been contributing and helping coordinate in Kinshasa. “Having high quality, detailed maps and geospatial data is crucial for being able to respond and contain outbreaks,” she says. “If you don’t have this information, you might miss lots of villages people just don’t know about.”
The 2014 epidemic got as bad as it did in part because West Africa had no real experience with Ebola, and in part because the disease spread from rural areas to cities in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. But Bas-Uele is really far, populated mostly by subsistence farmers and hunters. “When you have disease outbreaks in these remote, rural areas that are difficult to get to, they’re also difficult to get out of, and populations don’t move as easily,” Rimoin says. “The problem in West Africa was that this happened in areas that are highly populated with a lot of movement, and that makes outbreaks hard to contain.”