Caring for critically ill patients with Ebola virus disease: Perspectives from West Africa

Robert A. Fowler, Thomas Fletcher, William A. Fischer, Francois Lamontagne, Shevin Jacob, David Brett-Major, James V. Lawler, Frederique A. Jacquerioz, Catherine Houlihan, Tim O'Dempsey, Mauricio Ferri, Takuya Adachi, Marie Claire Lamah, Elhadj Ibrahima Bah, Thierry Mayet, John Schieffelin, Susan L. McLellan, Mikiko Senga, Yasuyuki Kato, Christophe ClementSimon Mardel, Rosa Constanza Vallenas Bejar De Villar, Nahoko Shindo, Daniel Bausch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


The largest ever Ebola virus disease outbreak is ravaging West Africa. The constellation of little public health infrastructure, low levels of health literacy, limited acute care and infection prevention and control resources, densely populated areas, and a highly transmissible and lethal viral infection have led to thousands of confirmed, probable, or suspected cases thus far. Ebola virus disease is characterized by a febrile severe illness with profound gastrointestinal manifestations and is complicated by intravascular volume depletion, shock, profound electrolyte abnormalities, and organ dysfunction. Despite no proven Ebola virus-specific medical therapies, the potential effect of supportive care is great for a condition with high baseline mortality and one usually occurring in resource-constrained settings.Withmore personnel, basic monitoring, and supportive treatment, many of the sickest patientswith Ebola virus disease do not need to die. Ebola virus disease represents an illness ready for a paradigmshift in care delivery and outcomes, and the profession of critical care medicine can and should be instrumental in helping this happen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-737
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Critical care
  • Ebola
  • Outbreak
  • Viral hemorrhagic fever

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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