Sergey Uryadnikov /

The world’s leading medical organizations are sounding the alarm over an outbreak of the Ebola virus, which has now spread to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of the 3,500 confirmed cases, 1,500 people have died.

Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders, issued perhaps the most stirring plea, saying: “Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it. … Ebola treatment centers are reduced to places where people go to die alone, where little more than palliative care is offered.”

Other entities, including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are calling for emergency aid and action.

CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden was quoted by The Seattle Times as saying, “This is not just a problem for West Africa, it’s not just a problem for Africa. It’s a problem for the world, and the world needs to respond.”

A person infected with Ebola can be asymptomatic for up to 21 days. Health officials urge those who have traveled to the affected region to monitor their temperature closely during that period.

The threat of various diseases in the past, from SARS to H1N1, has been exaggerated, and it’s all to easy to fall into a panic. That said, these organizations are not known for crying wolf, and we take what they have to say seriously — especially their pleas for support for the victims in West Africa, where the threat of Ebola is not hypothetical.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer


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