More Forward Progress On That Ebola Epidemic We Forgot About

The U.S. moved on to other things long ago, but the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues.  The latest news is unambiguously good.

The World Health Organization has declared Guinea to be free of virus transmission.  This means that it has been 42 days since the last declared case of the disease in that country had its second negative test.  The WHO now starts a 90 day period of heightened surveillance to further restrict the spread of the disease.  Sierra Leone was placed under a similar period of surveillance last month.

If no further cases are reported in Liberia between now and January 16, that country will be placed under the same 90 day surveillance period.  The disease had re-emerged in the country back in the summer, so we are not out of the woods, as it were.  We can certainly see the edge.

The next challenge is to repair and strengthen the infrastructure damaged by this outbreak, which is in its 19th month.  Even developed nations would be challenged by the stress a months-long outbreak would place on public health systems, so the countries most affected by this outbreak stand much more susceptible to another outbreak.

And that’s something we don’t want.  But the thousands of miles and other things to fears that have captured the attention of this country and others suggests to me that we aren’t inclined to help when such help could be at least as meaningful as in the highest levels of the outbreak.

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