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A message to the Content Management working group

We want to thank you all once again for the wonderful contributions you are making to the Resilience Systems.

We are going to take this opportunity to share a few posting highlights, and let you know that in the near future we intend to establish a link to our instruction sets within the Content Management group.

Here are a few posting highlights:

When posting older time-sensitive articles, please remember to adjust the publication date under “Authoring information” / “Authored on”. Doing so will ensure that our material is posted in chronological order according to the article publication dates. Of course if the article is not time-sensitive and is important or just as applicable today as it was on the date of publication, please feel free to use a current publication date. Ideally we would like to have current information towards the top of the Home page.

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Ebola: limitations of correcting misinformation

THE LANCET                                                                                                              Dec.18, 2014
Communication and social mobilisation strategies to raise awareness about Ebola virus disease and the risk factors for its transmission are central elements in the response to the current Ebola outbreak in west Africa.1 A principle underpinning these efforts is to change risky "behaviour" related to "traditional" practices and "misinformation".

 Populations at risk of contracting Ebola virus disease have been exhorted to “put aside, tradition, culture and whatever family rites they have and do the right thing”....Such messages follow logically from clinical and epidemiological framings of contagion.

They pay little attention, however, to the historical, political, economic, and social contexts in which they are delivered....

Read the complete article.

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Inside the cultural struggle to stamp out Ebola

A front-line report from Sierra Leone examines efforts to change hearts and minds in West Africa’s villages.

NATURE   by Erika Check Hayden                                                                             Dec. 17, 2014

Bombali District, Sierra Leone --Since September, the Ebola virus has stalked the villages and towns along the Kamakwie–Makeni Road, a rutted, red-dirt track that serves as the main artery for a string of villages in the western part of Sierra Leone’s Bombali District.

Yeli Sanda, a village just a few kilometres outside the district’s capital city of Makeni, was the first place to be hit. Over the following months, more than 40 people in the settlement of about 700 became infected; 22 died. In November, the virus infected a woman in Tambiama, about 11 km up the road. A friend who visited her acquired the virus and carried it another 1.5 km to the village of Mayata. She and at least five others there have died.

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COMMENTARY: When the next shoe drops — Ebola crisis communication lessons from October

CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE AND POLICY                                                                   Dec. 9, 2014          
By  Peter M. Sandman, PhD, and Jody Lanard, MD  

In contrast to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, which started in late 2013 and will last well into 2015 or longer, the US "Ebola crisis" was encapsulated in a single month, October 2014. But there may well be US Ebola cases to come, brought here by travelers or returning volunteers. And other emerging infectious diseases will surely reach the United States in the months and years ahead.

So now is a propitious time to harvest some crisis communication lessons from the brief US Ebola "crisis."

We're putting "crisis" in quotation marks because there was never an Ebola public health crisis in the United States, nor was there a significant threat of one. But there was a crisis of confidence, a period of several weeks during which many Americans came to see the official response to domestic Ebola as insufficiently cautious, competent, and candid—and therefore felt compelled to implement or demand additional responses of their own devising....

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What Ebola can teach us about a new bubonic plague outbreak in Africa

THE WEEK -- by S.E. Smith                                                                                                     Dec. 5, 2014
While West Africa battles Ebola, another outbreak is striking just across the continent. In Madagascar, cases of plague are erupting in the small village of Mandritsara and the disease is spreading to neighboring communities. The two outbreaks are related by more than simple surface similarities, though. In fact, fighting the first has provided an invaluable blueprint for containing the second.West Africa's Ebola outbreak could inform responders to Madagascar's plague cases.

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What Ebola Is Teaching Us About Hard Trends

WIRED     Essay by David Burris                                                                                        Dec. 14, 2014

...Deadly and infectious viruses such as Ebola are an inevitable and unavoidable fact of nature. In other words, they are examples of a Hard Trend. And they demand new innovations in order to combat them.

...the deadly force of Ebola is the kind of imminent threat that inspires human minds to new heights. It teaches us that Hard Trends come at us fast and provide the catalyst to overcome inertia and bring about technological innovations.


Communication is key to mobilizing populations in countries affected by Ebola. In order to treat the sick and prevent the spread of the disease, healthcare workers need to be able to coordinate with people on the frontline and know where to send supplies. At the moment, telecommunications technologies are not keeping pace with the intense demands that Ebola creates.

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People are treating Africa like a country because of Ebola

From Monrovia to Guangdong, Africans can't escape the stigma. (Reuters/Alex Lee)Benno Muchler - November 25, 2014 -

Ebola was one of the biggest news stories this year. What did we learn from it? Not much. Panic and fear replaced rational thinking. And there was another pernicious behavior we didn’t change.

Ebola would have been a chance to start differentiating Africa. Yet, we’re doing quite the opposite. We continue to look at Africa as one country. We act as if the whole continent is contaminated. And most sadly, outside Africa we stigmatize Africans, no matter which part of the continent they’re from, because of Ebola.

Read the whole article here:

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Ebola Mappers Track Epidemic in Real Time 

NBC NEWS       By Nikita Japra                                                                                     Nov. 23, 2014
In a darkened Boston conference room, staring at projections from a laptop, John Brownstein is far from the front lines of the fight against Ebola. But the epidemiologist’s work may help change the course of the epidemic.

The disease forecaster and his team are combing through news reports, tweets and Facebook posts to anticipate the disease’s next move — and help those on the ground head it off before the crisis grows....

Brownstein’s HealthMap scours social media and local news from around the globe to locate potential hot spots and display them in an interactive map. In the past, HealthMap has spotted outbreaks ranging from H1N1 swine flu to Dengue fever. Today, the team is building interactive maps that can guide the response to the worst Ebola outbreak ever recorded.

While official numbers from government agencies can take precious time to confirm, Brownstein’s team looks to more immediate, unconventional sources to help target the right communities at the right time.

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Battling Ebola: The African responses that 'will win this war'

People walk past a billboard with a message about Ebola in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, on November 7. Public awareness campaigns are proving vital in the fight against the virus.

Description of African efforts to improve communications to counter the spread of Ebola

CCN                                                                                                                                Nov. 17, 2014

By Alex Court (CNN)-- "When the Ebola outbreak started, it was very terrifying for everybody," recalls Michael Chu'no Ike from Nsukka in Nigeria's Enugu State. "People were afraid it could be transmitted by air and started believing all sorts of rumors about how to boost their immunity."

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Epidemics of Confusion

Like AIDS before it, Ebola Isn't explained clearly by officials

People shun the infected and their contacts; some demand quarantines. Conspiracy theorists contend the virus escaped from government laboratories.

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