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Ebola Outbreak Response: The Role of Information Resources and the National Library of Medicine

  • Cynthia B. Love (a1), Stacey J. Arnesen (a1) and Steven J. Phillips (a2)


The US National Library of Medicine (NLM) offers Internet-based, no-cost resources useful for responding to the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak. Resources for health professionals, planners, responders, and researchers include PubMed, Disaster Lit, the Web page “Ebola Outbreak 2014: Information Resources,” and the Virus Variation database of sequences for Ebolavirus. In cooperation with participating publishers, NLM offers free access to full-text articles from over 650 biomedical journals and 4000 online reference books through the Emergency Access Initiative. At the start of a prolonged disaster event or disease outbreak, the documents and information of most immediate use may not be in the peer-reviewed biomedical journal literature. To maintain current awareness may require using any of the following: news outlets; social media; preliminary online data, maps, and situation reports; and documents published by nongovernmental organizations, international associations, and government agencies. Similar to the pattern of interest shown in the news and social media, use of NLM Ebola-related resources is also increasing since the start of the outbreak was first reported in March 2014 (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1-4)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Cynthia B. Love, Disaster Information Management Research Center, Specialized Information Services, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 510, Bethesda, MD 20892-5467 (e-mail:


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1.Frieden, TR, Damon, I, Bell, BP, et al. Ebola 2014 - New challenges, new global response and responsibility. N Engl J Med [published online August 20, 2014]. 2014;371(13):1177-1180. doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1409903.
2. [beta] Web site. Accessed September 22, 2014.
3. Google Trends for topic ‘Ebola’ Web site. Accessed September 22, 2014.
4.US Department of Health and Human Services. Disaster Information Management Research Center. Ebola Outbreak 2014: Information Resources Web site. Accessed October 2, 2014.
5.Turoff, M, Hiltz, SR. Information seeking behavior and viewpoints of emergency preparedness and management professionals concerned with health and medicine: Final report. March 6, 2008. Accessed September 22, 2014.
6.Birnbaum, M, et al. Tsunami 2004. A Comprehensive Analysis. New Delhi Regional Office for Southeast Asia (SEARO), World Health Organization; 2013. Accessed September 22, 2014.
7. Virus Variation: Ebolavirus Resource [database online]. Bethesda, MD: National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Accessed September 22, 2014.
8.US National Library of Medicine. Emergency Access Initiative. Active Event: Ebola Outbreak in West Africa. August 12, 2014 – October 17, 2014. Accessed October 2, 2014.
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Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • ISSN: 1935-7893
  • EISSN: 1938-744X
  • URL: /core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness
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