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Kangbai, Jia Bainga; Heumann, Christian; Hoelscher, Michael; Sahr, Foday and Froeschl, Guenter (2021): Factors associated with length of stay and treatment outcome of Ebola patients treated at an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone during the peak period of the West African Ebola outbreak 2013-2016. In: Archives of Public Health, Vol. 79, No. 1, 131

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Background The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the West Africa Ebola epidemic as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in August 2014. During the outbreak period, there were calls for the affected countries to construct Ebola treatment centres and reliable diagnostic laboratories closer to areas of transmission in order to improve the quality care of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) patients. Delay in seeking treatment has been reported to have led to poor treatment outcome of EVD patients. Sierra Leone recorded more than 8000 probable and confirmed cases and more than 4000 EVD -related deaths nation-wide. Methods In this retrospective study, we investigated the effects of treatment delay, length of symptomatic period, EVD patients' sex, age, occupation, region of residence, and clinical characteristics on the treatment outcome of 205 laboratory-confirmed EVD patients who were admitted at the Kenema Government Hospital Ebola Treatment Center (KGHETC) from 13/09/2014-26/11/2014;i.e. during the peak of 2013-2016 EVD outbreak in Sierra Leone. Specifically also, we determined the factors that were associated with the length of stay for EVD treatment for patients who were discharged alive. Results Majority (66.3%, n = 205/309) of the 309 suspected EVD patients with medical records at the KGHETC triage during the period under review were tested positive for EVD using reverse-transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and had a definitive treatment outcome. Few (33.7%, n = 104/309) suspected EVD patients were not included in our analysis and were classified thus: 29.1% (n = 90/309) suspect EVD cases with negative RT-PCR results, 4.5% (n = 14/309) suspect cases with non-available RT-PCR result. Of the 205 patients, 99 (48.3%) had a fatal outcome. For EVD patients that survived, we recorded a significant association (- 0.06, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = - 0.14 - - 0.02, p = 0.004) between the Length of Stay (LOS) and for each kilometer travelled to seek treatment at the KGHETC. However, the association between EVD patients that were low skilled workers (- 5.91, 95% CI = - 24.60 - 12.79, p = 0.73), EVD patients who were children and pupils in junior school (- 0.86, 95% CI = - 12.86 - 11.14, p = 0.73), health seeking delay for EVD patients who resided in Kenema District where the KGHETC was located (- 0.49, 95% CI = - 0.12 - 1.09, p = 0.24), sex (- 1.77, 95% CI = - 8.75 - 5.21, p = 0.50), age (0.21, 95% CI = - 0.36 - 0.77, p = 0.57), referral status (1.21, 95% CI = - 17.67 - 20.09, p = 0.89) and the LOS in surviving patients were not statistically significant. Conclusion The high LOS for either treatment outcome for EVD patients that resided in the district in which the EVD treatment facility was located compared to those patients from other districts implies that health authorities should consider intensive health education with high priority given to seeking early EVD treatment, and the construction of strategic ETCs as important components in their response strategy.

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