What we’re reading: Unprecedented Ebola challenges call for unprecedented responses, good investments and more

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Ebola Spreads Amid Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and U.S. Role Remains Limited – Spreading near national borders with control efforts impeded by ongoing violence, vandalism and distrust, the current Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the largest outbreak of the virus the country has seen, and the second largest ever. While these conditions argue for increased international involvement and investment, they are, instead the reason the U.S. has pulled personnel back from the field this Kaiser Family Foundation brief notes. Further noting the impact of the ongoing government shutdown on planning and information, the piece makes a case that the outbreak stands to spread and worsen, and become the Public Health Emergency of International Concern that the World Health Organization has not yet declared.

The Best Investment I’ve Ever Made – “Saving lives in developing countries often means getting medicines to remote villages and war zones,” Bill Gates notes here. The conditions hindering responses to Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in other words, are not unique. That’s why, the philanthropist argues, strengthening health systems and capacities remains paramount, to health and development around the world and at home, even as the administration continues to argue against the value of foreign aid.

Zika, the Continuing Threat – Detailing the discovery of Zika-carrying mosquitoes in northern areas of India that suggested local transmission of the virus in that country for the first time, this bulletin from the World Health Organization concludes that Zika is not over, and that outbreaks of the virus and its devastating impacts on children born to women infected during pregnancy, will “ebb and flow” — underscoring the continued urgency of strengthened resources and skills to detect, prevent and respond to infectious diseases wherever they emerge.

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