During the late phase of the large West-African Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak, the majority of patients were cared for in designated treatment centers. However, the preexisting healthcare infrastructure was already overwhelmed by the outbreak. This had a huge impact on other, non-EVD-related diseases, causing an unprecedented increase in morbidity and mortality, which most likely exceeded the toll due to EVD directly. Consequently, a crucial question is how to provide appropriate healthcare and safeguard functionality of a healthcare system that also serves patients not suspected or diagnosed to have EVD. Here, we report on the Lion Heart Medical Center's experience in Sierra Leone and note that a case definition of Ebola that is broader than those commonly applied may be better suited when it is necessary to identify atypically presenting, pauci-symptomatic cases.
Keywords: Ebola virus disease; Sierra Leone; case definition; essential patient care; fever.
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