Date of Conferral





Public Health


Srikanta Banerjee


Sierra Leone had the highest number of cases of Ebola virus disease in history during the 2014 Ebola epidemic. The purpose of this quantitative, cross-sectional study was to examine the relationship between sociocultural and behavioral risk factors and Ebola status among women and men ages 15 to 49 years in Sierra Leone. The ecological model served as the theoretical framework. Secondary data were collected from the Sierra Leone Ebola Disease Survey. Results of chi-square tests revealed that attending a funeral (p = .001), touching a dead body at a funeral (p = .023), contact with a sick person (p = .001), touching bodily fluids (p = 0.001), gender (p = .035), traditional healer occupation (p = .001), and housewife/care taker occupation (p = .001) were significantly associated with Ebola infection status among the study population. Age, seeking traditional healer care, and preparation and consumption of primate meat were not associated with Ebola virus infection. Results of stepwise backward elimination logistic regression indicated the only significant predictor of Ebola infection was attending a funeral (adjusted R2 = .013 or 1.3%, p = .031). Findings may be used to promote awareness of funeral-related Ebola infection risk and avoiding traditional and religious practices that elevate infection risk during burial of the dead, which may be used to reduce or prevent future Ebola outbreaks in Sierra Leone.

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