This terrific popsci.com article highlights the role that international intervention played in slowing and reversing the West African Ebola outbreak. First off, lets not downplay the horribleness of the outbreak:
The havoc that Ebola is wreaking in West Africa cannot be understated. With a total of 21,200 people infected since March 2014, the disease is shredding the social fabric of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, leaving 8,400 dead. People live in fear, afraid to shake others’ hands. Survivors are shunned, and those suspected of carrying the disease are being physically assaulted in some regions.
Scientific models showed late last summer that the Ebola outbreak could result in over a million cases without a strong international effort to curb it. Many governments and aid organizations did step up, and were likely responsible for proving the scientific models wrong… Colin Brown (who studies infectious diseases at King’s College London) puts it perfectly:
The models showed what could happen if there was a lack of international effort. We really don’t know what would have happened if the world hadn’t stepped up.
While the outbreak seems to be subsiding, the article also highlights the need for people and governments to not be complacent… not surprisingly.