Ebola outbreak has lasting impact on Liberian agriculture, food security

August 2, 2018, Public Library of Science
"Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia." Credit: blk24ga, Wikimedia Commons

There is unequivocal evidence that disease epidemics adversely affect the livelihoods of individuals, households and communities in affected areas. The ebola outbreak in Liberia, researchers have now shown, had lasting impacts on crop production, income, and food security. The new results are published this week in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Research on the socioeconomic impacts of outbreaks has largely centered around HIV/AIDS and malaria. In 2014 through 2015, more than 28,000 people in the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leona were affected by the Ebola virus disease (EVD) and more than 11,000 died. Transmission of the virus has been stopped in the affected countries, but likely left a lasting impact, and could return. Liberia is one of the poorest countries in Africa.

In the new work, Tsegaye Gatiso of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), and colleagues collected data from 623 households across Liberia during the EVD outbreak in 2015. The survey was administered in person, and sample households were randomly selected in each locale. Household heads were asked about household income, source of income, crop production, and household assets including land.

The survey found that the annual income of sample households did not differ between communities that had been affected by EVD and those unaffected. However, households in all areas reported a decrease in average income compared to the year prior, suggesting that the outbreak may have indirectly affected communities in areas where the virus was not present. Communities with EVD did have a greater negative impact on the of farm households.

"Our results highlight that epidemics, such as the recent EVD outbreak, may have long-lasting negative effects on the livelihoods of a society and their effect may extend beyond the communities directly affected by the epidemics," the researchers say.

Explore further: No new Ebola cases in Liberia for more than two weeks: WHO

More information: Gatiso TT, Ordaz-Németh I, Grimes T, Lormie M, Tweh C, et al. (2018) The impact of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic on agricultural production and livelihoods in Liberia. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 12(8): e0006580. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006580

Related Stories

No new Ebola cases in Liberia for more than two weeks: WHO

March 11, 2015
No new case of the deadly Ebola virus has been registered in Liberia since February 19, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, also hailing positive signs in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Ebola death toll rises to 6,331 as S.Leone overtakes Liberia cases

December 8, 2014
More than 6,300 people have now died from Ebola in the three hardest hit nations in west Africa, the World Health Organization said Monday, as Sierra Leone overtook Liberia as the country with the highest number of cases.

Up to one million facing hunger in Ebola-hit countries: UN

December 17, 2014
Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday.

Sierra Leone leader says Ebola 'contained by end-2014'

October 23, 2014
The Ebola virus will be contained in Sierra Leone by the end of the year, the president of the badly affected country told Britain's ITV News on Thursday.

Liberian malaria cases declined following mass drug administration during Ebola outbreak

August 31, 2016
Mass drug administration may have reduced malarial incidence during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia, according to a study published August 31, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Anna Kuehne from Epicentre, France, ...

How the world stopped Ebola

March 15, 2016
New research has found the successful end to the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa was due to a coordinated response and the accepted traditional measures of control used in past outbreaks.

Recommended for you

Tibetan sheep highly susceptible to human plague, originates from marmots

August 16, 2018
In the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, one of the region's highest risk areas for human plague, Himalayan marmots are the primary carriers of the infectious bacterium Y. pestis. Y. pestis infection can be transmitted to humans and ...

Autoimmunity plays role in development of COPD, study finds

August 16, 2018
Autoimmunity plays a role in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study led by Georgia State University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center that analyzed human genome information ...

Scientists identify nearly 200 potential tuberculosis drug targets

August 16, 2018
Tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Nearly 2 million people die every year from this infectious disease, and an estimated 2 billion people are chronically infected. The only vaccine, developed almost ...

Reliable point-of-care blood test can help prevent toxoplasmosis

August 16, 2018
A recent study, performed in Chicago and Rabat, Morocco, found that a novel finger-prick test for infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii during pregnancy—and many other potential applications—is 100 percent sensitive ...

First mouse model to mimic lung disease could speed discovery of more effective treatments

August 16, 2018
The biggest hurdle to finding effective therapies for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) – a life-threatening condition in which the lungs become scarred and breathing is increasingly difficult – has been the inability ...

Anticancer drug offers potential alternative to transplant for patients with liver failure

August 15, 2018
Patients suffering sudden liver failure could in the future benefit from a new treatment that could reduce the need for transplants, research published today shows.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.