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Deadly Disease
Ebola Epidemic Defies Containment Efforts

Efforts to stop Ebola from spreading are proving to be largely ineffective, and the weak health systems in key areas are collapsing under the strain. The Associated Press reports that places where Ebola had been contained are seeing the virus resurgent: 

The Macenta region, right on the Liberian border, had been one of the first places where the outbreak surfaced, but [Doctors Without Borders] hadn’t seen a new case for weeks. So they packed up, leaving a handful of staff on stand-by. The outbreak was showing signs of slowing elsewhere as well.

Instead, new cases appeared across the border in Liberia and then spread across West Africa, carried by the sick and dying. Now, months later, Macenta is once again a hotspot.

The World Health Organization warns that Liberia could see thousands of new cases of Ebola. Health systems and governments are failing to cope in large part because this outbreak is every different from previous ones. In the past, the virus tended to strike in isolated areas that were relatively easy to quarantine, but this time it has hit dense areas where people travel freely between villages or across borders. The governments involved haven’t been able to stop people from travelling, and there are far too few health workers available to track the disease and prevent it from spreading.  

So if freedom of movement is enabling the virus to resurface in parts of Africa, how long before it spreads even farther? If the headlines aren’t scary enough, perhaps it’s time to get out those old copies of Albert Camus’ novel The Plague or Daniel Defoe’s  Journal of the Plague Year

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