Beyond the Ebola Battle — Winning the War against Future Epidemics

New England Journal of Medicine
July 21, 2016 Vol. 375 No. 3
Beyond the Ebola Battle — Winning the War against Future Epidemics
Victor J. Dzau, M.D., and Peter Sands, M.P.A.
N Engl J Med 2016; 375:203-204 July 21, 2016 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1605847
[Initial text]
The battle to contain and ultimately defeat the Ebola epidemic of 2014–2015 has been vividly described.1-3 Caught off guard from the start and hindered by myriad coordination, communication, and other problems, a combination of local and international teams fought back with determination, courage, and eventually the deployment of substantial resources to stem the contagion and save lives. Yet more than 11,000 people died, and local economies were brought to a halt. The battle was won, but at immense cost.

With the immediate crisis over, the world’s attention has moved on. Ebola has vanished from the headlines and seemingly from policymakers’ to-do lists. Attention has shifted to Zika and other competing priorities. Yet it would be a huge mistake to turn away and declare the war over, for West Africa remains vulnerable to a resurgence of Ebola. There will undoubtedly be new outbreaks; the only question is how well they will be contained…