Ebola outbreak: “Unprecedented” and familiar, global health emergency calls for solidarity, innovation, communication

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NewWWRUnprecedented number of medical staff infected with Ebola – As of Monday, 240 health workers in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone had become sick with Ebola and 120 had died. That is just one of the ways that the current Ebola outbreak in west Africa is unprecedented, the latest “situation assessment” from the World Health Organization says, and it is also the most daunting in countries home to about one doctor for every 100,000 patients.

A Global Health Emergency – This commentary gives background and context to what makes this outbreak different, and how it highlights the need for committed, continuing attention to global health security measures. That includes laboratory, human resource and system strengthening, in addition to improved response readiness.

“At the start there was the horror of Ebola, now it’s a bit routine” – A journalist’s recounting of encounters with Will Pooley, a British nurse who went on his own to Sierra Leone, because “in this situation I can really make a difference and make things a lot less bad,” paints a portrait of horror and humanity that sums up the solidarity of public health workers in neglected, abandoned settings.

A practical treatment for patients with Ebola virus – In a world where drug development priorities have produced a wealth of treatments for high cholesterol, and no targeted treatment for Ebola nearly 40 years after the first deadly outbreak of the virus, this suggestion that the anti-inflammatory impact of statins make it a potential treatment for Ebola virus is interesting.

Even one missed contact can keep the outbreak going – Evocative of straightforward public health messaging through the ages, this infographic from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention delivers a crucial message with credibility.

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