What is news one day is sometimes quickly forgotten. Today there were three pieces of news regarding the Ebola crisis. First, Dr. Rick Sacra returned to Liberia to fight the Ebola outbreak and contracted the Ebola virus but survived after being returned to the United States for medical care. Second, President Obama announced that he was removing almost all of the troops that were previously sent to fight the outbreak in Liberia. President Obama said the effort was shifting from a military goal of containing the virus to a civilian led effort of fighting the virus. It was unclear how he planned to do this but of the 4,800 troop sent to fight the Ebola outbreak, all but 100 would be out by the end of April. The third piece of news was that the WHO reported that cases of Ebola had risen for the second straight week after previously falling. About 9000 people have died from Ebola mostly in the west African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
Many Americans were overcome with fear last year as Ebola was in the news almost every day. Today, we rarely hear about the Ebola crisis. It seems that Americans have a short attention span when it comes to news like this. We are now focused on the current measles outbreak and the issue of vaccinations yet the risk of Ebola has not gone away as it continues to take a devastating toll on West African nations.
Are we providing enough resources to help fight Ebola? Should other nations contribute more to the effort? Is this a case where the United Nations should take the lead and require more nations to be involved?
History is full of major outbreaks of a variety of infectious diseases. Ebola raised the awareness of the risks but people are quickly forgetting this. What can we do to prepare for the next major epidemic that will confront us?