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Editorials, Opinion Pieces Address Different Aspects Of Ebola Epidemic

The following editorials and opinion pieces discuss various aspects of the Ebola epidemic.

Nature: Out of Africa
Editorial Board

“…The world is fiddling as West Africa burns, and unless it acts much faster, the [Ebola] outbreak risks spreading to surrounding regions. Sparks from it could lead to exports to more far-flung places, perhaps even to major cities that lack decent public health infrastructure. But countries and the public must also realize that although action is needed urgently, the commitments must be sustained until the outbreak has been stamped out, which could take many months. The relatively low threat to developed countries must not distract or detract from the pressing need to tackle the outbreak at its source” (10/9).

New York Times: Ebola Screening at the Airports
Editorial Board

“…Only about 150 travelers who have been in the three [Ebola-stricken] countries enter the United States on an average day. [Under the new Ebola screening guidelines, t]hey will put additional burdens on the Customs and Border Protection personnel and public health officers on duty at the airports. The CDC will have to add additional staff to those already at airports to evaluate suspect cases. The burden on the health care system will depend on how many patients suffering from fever-inducing ailments like the flu will end up in emergency rooms seeking Ebola evaluations. That effect will have to be measured as this screening moves forward. … The new approach might make the public feel safer. But, as [CDC Director Tom Frieden] wisely noted last week: ‘The plain truth is we can’t make the risk zero until the outbreak is controlled in West Africa. What we can do is minimize that risk, as is being done now in Dallas'” (10/8).

Washington Post: Ebola can’t be fought by sealing off the United States
Editorial Board

“…The hue and cry in recent days by some Republicans to shut the border to people from West Africa is misplaced. … Such extreme measures won’t stop Ebola infections from spreading outside of Africa and may cause serious disruption. … Since there is no vaccine and no effective therapy available for Ebola beyond scarce, experimental drugs, the only sure way to fight the scourge is to identify those who have it, trace those with whom they came in contact, and isolate the sick. The epicenter of this work is in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, where the outbreak is raging and help is desperately needed. The answer to Ebola is fighting it there, at the source, not at the U.S. border. No one is protected when a public health emergency is used for political grandstanding” (10/8).

Fox News: Ebola outbreak: U.S. urgently needs coordinated plan of attack
Bill Frist, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and a physician

“…To really stop the spread of the disease — to get ahead of it — we need a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can be deployed on the ground, not in a laboratory. A test that facilitates appropriate quarantine of those with disease and release of those without. Not only will this allow us to focus resources, it will also help build trust and allay fears. … While we are waiting on a potential test, we must efficiently leverage the resources we have to offer. … The death of the first patient diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil should not herald panic. But it is impetus to make sure we disseminate the most accurate information, that our response plan is coordinated and thoughtful, and that our nation’s best minds are focusing on a solution…” (10/8).

Washington Post: Other countries aren’t doing enough to stop Ebola
John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State

“President Obama has made it crystal clear that Ebola is an urgent global crisis that demands an urgent global response. The United States has intensified every aspect of our engagement, and that includes providing Ebola treatment units, recruiting first responders, and supplying a critical set of medical equipment. … But I want to expand that effort with an urgent plea to countries around the world to step up even further. … Providing [the $1 billion in urgent needs] is a critical component of our ability to be able to meet this challenge, and we need people to step up now. Now is the time for action, not words. And frankly, there is not a moment to waste in this effort” (10/8).

Christian Science Monitor: Ebola: The kind of enemy the U.S. military excels at fighting
Dan Murphy, CSM staff writer

“…[T]he Ebola mission is the kind of thing that the U.S. military excels at. Problems requiring expertise, discipline, and the ability to mobilize resources and people quickly in service of an achievable, clearly defined mission is what soldiers and officers dream of. … While killing ideologies in foreign societies is something the U.S. has failed at repeatedly throughout history, its ability to deal with pathogens or major engineering problems, or win specified military victories (think ‘toppling Saddam’ versus ‘creating a democratic, stable and U.S.-friendly Iraq’), shows a history of success. … The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grew out of the Army’s World War II malaria control effort. … U.S. military medical research has helped develop the vaccine for Japanese encephalitis, strains of hepatitis and typhoid, and has dramatically improved treatment of diseases from malaria to cholera” (10/8).

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