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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Ebola Epidemic

The following editorial and opinion pieces address different aspects of the Ebola epidemic.

New York Times: Stopping Ebola in America
Editorial Board

“…[I]t makes sense to add another layer of protection at airports in this country. Travelers from West Africa could be asked to fill out an additional questionnaire, on which they might be less tempted to lie since they will already have reached American soil. Verbal questioning could further probe whether a passenger is likely to be infected. Until the epidemic in West Africa is controlled, it remains possible, even likely, that another Ebola case would reach this country. The American health care system should be prepared to move quickly, treat the victim, and trace and isolate all people the patient had contact with. Bungled responses like the one in Dallas are simply unacceptable” (10/6).

Washington Post: Epidemiologist: Stop the flights now
David Dausey, dean of the School of Health Professions and Public Health at Mercyhurst University

“…The human errors in [the Dallas Ebola] case highlight why it is urgent that we ban all commercial flights from the impacted countries to all non-affected countries until the outbreak is contained. … It’s time to take security precautions that align with the gravity of the threat. That means doing whatever it takes to keep infected people from coming here” (10/6).

Washington Post: Seven things we now know about how the world has handled Ebola
Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at Tufts University and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution

Drezner examines news and feature articles, commentaries, actions, and political discourse surrounding Ebola, concluding, “…The one glimmer of good news is that the CDC still retains high degrees of bipartisan trust. My hunch is that the CDC’s still-sterling reputation, the United States’ superior health infrastructure, and the continued failure of rumored Ebola cases to pan out, will cause the more responsible tone to win out over the crazies of the left and right. But it’s going to be a near-run thing” (10/6).

Foreign Policy: How to Keep Ebola Out of Your Neighborhood
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…In the African epidemic, there is currently no way to tell who the Ebola carriers and spreaders are, as nobody is diagnosed until they are visibly sick, by which time they have often infected two or three others. A point-of-care test could easily discriminate the infected from the non-infected. Moreover, it could assure feverish individuals that Ebola is not the cause of their 100 degree Fahrenheit reading — perhaps as determined by a process of elimination, they have malaria, HIV, Lassa fever, or a long list of microbial ailments that commonly lurk in West Africa…” (10/6).

Washington Post: Ethical choices surround a potential Ebola vaccine
Michael Gerson, opinion writer

“…Why, in times of medical emergency, do we need to trust reliable scientific authorities? Because they are required to do unspeakably difficult things that would not survive the majority vote of a frightened public. In a Phase 2 trial, researchers give some people a vaccine that may hurt them, and some people a placebo that may result in their infection and death. This turns out to be the only ethical way we currently have to determine if a vaccine actually works. On an Ebola vaccine, this process should be expedited in any way possible. But it can’t be avoided without the potential for great harm” (10/6).

Bloomberg Businessweek: Fighting Ebola: The American Argument Against an African Travel Ban
Charles Kenny, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development

“…Travel bans are less effective than hiding under a rock and considerably more costly. To battle continuing epidemics and any future potential pandemics, we need strong health and surveillance systems in every country and research and development not just for the diseases of the rich but for the infections of the poor. Hitting emerging disease threats early and where they emerge is far less costly in terms of lives and financing than trying to play catch-up once they have spread” (10/6).

Foreign Policy: Ebola: Part II
Michael Miller, consultant and adjunct associate professor at the Duke Global Health Institute

“…The president has shown leadership and taken real risks with the United States’ response to Ebola thus far. But his job will not be complete with the conclusion of Operation United Assistance. We should all hope that he shows similar resolve and leadership against the weaknesses in a global health security framework that represent a potentially much greater threat against which our military is as vulnerable as the rest of us” (10/6).

The Guardian: What can Nigeria’s Ebola experience teach the world?
Oyewale Tomori, professor of virology at the Nigerian Academy of Science

“…As world leaders begin to break from their collective apathy, the lessons from Nigeria are clear. There needs to be enough trained health workers, equipment, and facilities available to isolate those showing Ebola symptoms in well-equipped treatment centers. Accelerated action in West Africa, specifically educating communities about the disease, symptoms, treatment, contact tracing, and how to bury the dead, can end this virus. There are no short cuts, and urgent international support is critical to building treatment centers and stopping Ebola…” (10/7).

Roll Call: Ebola Crisis Creates Sense of Urgency to Restore NIH Funding Now
Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America

“…Funding for medical research in our country has been stagnant and even cut over the past decade, holding back the NIH — America’s primary source for life-changing medical research — from finding cures. … Medical research is America’s most powerful means of combating global epidemics such as Ebola, keeping our shores safe. It is also the best way to find cures for diseases that touch each of us in the lives we lead here at home. Our nation’s elected representatives must take a stand for medical research now, and act for the NIH” (10/6).

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