The Contribution of Ebola Viral Load at Admission and Other Patient Characteristics to Mortality in a Médecins Sans Frontières Ebola Case Management Centre, Kailahun, Sierra Leone, June-October 2014

J Infect Dis. 2015 Dec 1;212(11):1752-8. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiv304. Epub 2015 May 22.


This paper describes patient characteristics, including Ebola viral load, associated with mortality in a Médecins Sans Frontières Ebola case management centre (CMC).Out of 780 admissions between June and October 2014, 525 (67%) were positive for Ebola with a known outcome. The crude mortality rate was 51% (270/525). Ebola viral load (whole-blood sample) data were available on 76% (397/525) of patients. Univariate analysis indicated viral load at admission, age, symptom duration prior to admission, and distance traveled to the CMC were associated with mortality (P < .05). The multivariable model predicted mortality in those with a viral load at admission greater than 10 million copies per milliliter (P < .05, odds ratio >10), aged ≥ 50 years (P = .08, odds ratio = 2) and symptom duration prior to admission less than 5 days (P = .14). The presence of confusion, diarrhea, and conjunctivitis were significantly higher (P < .05) in Ebola patients who died.These findings highlight the importance viral load at admission has on mortality outcomes and could be used to cohort cases with viral loads greater than 10 million copies into dedicated wards with more intensive medical support to further reduce mortality.

Keywords: Ebola virus; Sierra Leone; mortality; outbreak; viral load.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Disease Outbreaks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ebolavirus / genetics*
  • Female
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / epidemiology
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / mortality*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / therapy
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / virology*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sierra Leone / epidemiology
  • Viral Load / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult