Plan Now for Future Ebola Outbreaks




This is Scientific American's 60-Second Health. I'm Steve Mirsky. Got a minute?
"Classic public health, isolation and respect and dignity for the people infected, and respect and dignity if individuals do die that they're buried in appropriate manner, is absolutely critical to bringing this epidemic under control."
Jeremy Farrar is an emerging infectious disease expert and the director of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable health foundation.
He talked about the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa during a conference called webcast produced by the New England Journal of Medicine on October 22nd.
"The society where these epidemics are occurring are ultimately going to be critical to bringing the epidemic under control.
"I believe in the 21st century, the classic public health measures that are critical can be complemented by the addition of rapid diagnostics;
by the development of vaccines, assessment of safety and efficacy and then deployment;and by the development of drugs.
Which the drugs themselves may not change the epidemic curve, but they may change the relationship the health care facilities and workers have with the community.
"If you offer hope to a previously untreated infection, you will change the way that people present, you will remove some of the stigma and you will be able to demonstrate that people can survive from Ebola.
And I believe that is absolutely critical.
Being a young doctor during the early stages of HIV in Western Europe, it was amazing the change that occurred both in lives, but also in attitudes toward HIV, when we developed antiretroviral drugs."
To listen to the entire 84-minute New England Journal of Medicine discussion, which also includes Paul Farmer of Partners in Health and Matthew Arduino from the CDC, just go to the website of the New England Journal of Medicine and find their special page on the Ebola outbreak.
For Scientific American's 60-Second Health. I'm Steve Mirsky.