How the world will look if Ebola goes global

The Ebola epidemic is still roaring in three countries; two others have contained the disease, but it has now leaked to a sixth, Mali. The case count is 10,141, with 4,922 deaths.

I wanted to be sure I wasn’t over-imagining what might happen next with Ebola, if it is not contained at its source now. For a fact-check, I turned to Jody Lanard and Peter Sandman, two risk-communication experts who have been involved in most of the big epidemic threats of the past decades. I hoped they would tell me not to be too worried about Ebola becoming a permanent threat in West Africa.

Instead, they told me to be very worried indeed. Lanard and Sandman wrote an entire essay, stating in brief:

  • They address how unlikely it is that Ebola will be contained using the current level of aid and personnel. Here. they say, is what would have to happen for the disease to be stopped:
  • The people of West Africa and the governments of West Africa rise to the occasion, radically altering deeply embedded cultural practices, from political corruption to the way they bury their dead.
  • The world’s nations fill that gap, providing enough money, supplies, and people to outrace the epidemic.
  • Treatment, isolation, contact tracing, and contact monitoring reach the percentage of cases needed to “break the epidemic curve.”…
  • A spectacularly successful vaccine is quickly discovered, tested, mass-produced, and mass-distributed.

 [Read full Wired.com article

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