Ebola Now Threatens National Security In West Africa

Dina Fine Maron | Nature | September 3, 2014

The virus remains unchecked because of the lack of a global effort to implement emergency public-health measures.

The Ebola virus outbreak entrenched in west Africa has become a real risk to the stability and security of society in the region, the top US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official said today after returning yesterday from a visit there.

Failure to tamp down Ebola’s spread is stressing the infrastructure of countries stricken with the disease that must still continue to provide basic health and security services and promote routine commercial activity. Fear of its spread is also hindering care for other maladies and may increasingly put the stability of neighboring nations at risk, said CDC director Tom Frieden in a press conference today. “It’s a problem for the world and the world needs to respond,” he said. The outbreak has spread from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria to include Senegal. Fortunately, a separate smaller Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo does not appear to be related to the west African cases.

Meanwhile, Ebola is also hindering all other medical care because health workers are afraid to go to their jobs, Frieden said. And paradoxically, attempts to help tamp down the virus by canceling flights to countries with the virus are actually making it more difficult to send in essential personnel and supplies, he said. “I could not possibly overstate the need for urgent response,” he said...