Volume 98, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Studies have shown that people suffering from food insecurity are at higher risk for infectious and noncommunicable diseases and have poorer health outcomes. No study, however, has examined the association between food insecurity and outcomes related to Ebola virus disease (EVD). We conducted a cross-sectional study in two Ebola-affected communities in Kono district, Sierra Leone, from November 2015 to September 2016. We enrolled persons who were determined to have been exposed to Ebola virus. We assessed the association of food insecurity, using an adapted version of the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale, a nine-item scale well validated across Africa, with having been diagnosed with EVD and having died of EVD, using logistic regression models with cluster-adjusted standard errors. We interviewed 326 persons who were exposed to Ebola virus; 61 (19%) were diagnosed with EVD and 45/61 (74%) died. We found high levels (87%) of food insecurity, but there was no association between food insecurity and having been diagnosed with EVD. Among EVD cases, those who were food insecure had 18.3 times the adjusted odds of death than those who were food secure ( = 0.03). This is the first study to demonstrate a potential relationship between food insecurity and having died of EVD, although larger prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings.


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  • Received : 20 Oct 2017
  • Accepted : 29 Jan 2018
  • Published online : 19 Mar 2018

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