Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Need To Control Ebola Outbreak In DRC

Financial Times: Ebola outbreak demands more urgent attention
Editorial Board

“The World Health Organization has for a third time declined to declare the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which in the past week worryingly crept over the border into Uganda, a public health emergency — for technical reasons that may be correct. Such a declaration could have triggered unhelpful actions, such as suspension of flights to Congo or the closure of borders with neighboring countries. Making the impoverished central African country a pariah would probably not help anyone. … Three things are needed now to bring the [Ebola] crisis [in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)] under control. The first is money. … Second, plentiful supplies of vaccines are needed. … The third requirement is the hardest of all. Eastern Congo needs peace. … The root cause of the violence is the poverty that stalks much of Congo. If something cannot be done to tackle that, then even if this epidemic is brought under control, sooner or later Ebola will be back” (6/17).

The Conversation: Ebola outbreak spreads to Uganda — it should never have happened
Sterghios Moschos, associate professor in cellular and molecular sciences at Northumbria University

“…[T]he latest [Ebola] outbreak brings a new set of challenges. There have been armed attacks against health care workers and treatment centers have been firebombed. Affected regions are in a war zone and local people have a deep distrust of the DRC government and Western health care volunteers. … Even though neighboring countries have been preparing for the risk of the disease spilling into their territories, [six patients in Uganda, who had fled a DRC Ebola virus isolation center close to the Ugandan border,] still made it through border crossings unnoticed. … Symptom screening should have picked … these cases up, but checking people for things such as fever is neither foolproof nor effective. Yet a fast, reliable, and affordable test for the virus called QuRapID is available, which could restrict international transmission via illegal border crossings. … The likelihood that some health care staff involved will contract the disease is low as they are among the 4,700 Ugandan health care workers vaccinated for Ebola virus. But vaccine stocks are running low. The race is on to restock the vaccine, engage the local population, and trace the contacts of suspected cases to prevent further spread” (6/13).

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