NIH's Feldman calls for better data sharing to address ebola outbreak

Dr. Heinz Feldmann, of the National Institute of Health (NIH), recently said in an article about the ebola outbreak in West Africa that scientists must share data with colleagues in real-time to improve public health response.

Influenza and SARS response times were improved when real-time data was made available, which helped to address the fast spreading viruses. The faster the data is made available, the faster the test results can be produced and success rate determined.

Feldmann suggested that the areas most affected by the ebola virus have a medical staff that is properly trained in disease diagnosis. A trained staff means that samples do not need to be sent out to a different laboratory, and the results and remedies can be divulged much sooner.

The ebola virus was discovered in 1976 and symptoms may include body ache, vomiting, rash, chest pain and high fever. The virus is easily transmitted through firsthand contact with blood or secretions of the infected person or any exposure to materials that have come in contact with secretions. There is not an effective treatment for the virus; isolation and maintaining the patient's fluids and oxygen levels are the best current remedy.