West Africa's 2014 Ebola outbreak cost $53B, researchers estimate

The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa cost global economies an estimated $53 billion, according to a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.


For the study, researchers systematically reviewed published literature and other reports to examine current estimates of the 2014 Ebola outbreak's burden. Researchers then identified six main areas that past estimates either did not consider or underestimated. They created their own estimate, considering these factors, to identify the direct economic burden and indirect social effects of the outbreak.

Previous estimates of the outbreak's economic burden ranged from $2.8 billion to $32.6 billion in lost gross domestic product, according to the researchers. Taking the social burden into account, researchers estimated this figure was closer to $53.2 billion. Deaths from non-Ebola causes represented the largest portion of this estimate at $18.8 billion.

"A more complete understanding of the burden of the 2014 [Ebola virus] outbreak underscores the value of interventions that can mitigate or reduce the severity of future outbreaks," the researchers concluded.

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