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Ebola Round Two: Should We Be Alarmed?


We are once again on high alert over Ebola. True, this year the disease has killed only a very small number of persons – twenty-seven – but the potential for rapid, worldwide dissemination is a clear and present danger. Remember how in 2014-2016 Ebola Round One killed 11,310?


We are better prepared for Round Two: Surveillance is in place for early disease detection. Several Ebola vaccines and therapeutic drugs are now available. And, we have learned from experience the vital nature of rapid response. Mark Kline, of the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Public Health Committee observed, “During the last outbreak, it was felt in retrospect that probably the local, national, international response to the outbreak was not as rapid and as widespread as it needed to have been to prevent the outbreak from becoming so large.”


So, in Ebola Round Two, should we be alarmed? Yes, for while our preparations are better, we have a new enemy: indifference. The rationale is We’ve seen this disease before. It barely grazed Europe, Asia or North America. So, it probably won’t this time, either. Truth be told, it’s only because of heroic efforts – including those of INMED Humanitarian Crisis Response Award Recipients – that the epidemic was confined to West Africa. Let us cast aside indifference and fully utilize the tools we now possess to aggressively battle against Ebola Round Two.


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