Understanding Ebola Virus Disease

This project will develop and disseminate an online educational resource called Understanding Ebola Virus Disease (UEVD). The objective is to provide users with an interactive learning experience that helps them acquire a basic understanding of factors that influence infection, transmission, and management of Ebola virus disease. 

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1518346
Funding Period: 
Sunday, February 1, 2015 to Sunday, January 31, 2016
Full Description: 

This project will develop and disseminate an online educational resource called Understanding Ebola Virus Disease (UEVD). The objective is to provide users with an interactive learning experience that helps them acquire a basic understanding of factors that influence infection, transmission, and management of Ebola virus disease. Irrational fears about the current Ebola outbreak argue for the development of educational resources that can help people better understand the biology of viruses. The UEVD materials will include a knowledge pretest and posttest. These tests will allow the researchers to identify misconceptions users have about virus infection, and Ebola disease in particular, and enable them to assess how well the UEVD materials address these misconceptions.

The core of the UEVD resource is an interactive model of virus infection. Users can manipulate four to six variables that relate to important concepts associated with viral infection and spread. The virus interactive will focus on the susceptibility of the target population, the transmissibility of the virus, virulence factors, and disease spread. Users will be able to put the biology of the Ebola virus into perspective by comparing and contrasting it to other types of viruses such as measles and influenza. The goal of this educational resource is to help users acquire a basic understanding of virulence factors and transmissibility so that they can appreciate the risks of virus infection more objectively. Armed with such knowledge, users may be less fearful of rare infections like Ebola and more concerned with common infections like influenza, which kills tens of thousands of people annually in the United States. An informed public is also more likely to treat people coping with viral diseases with empathy and compassion.

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