Ebola’s Deadly Spread in Africa Driven by Public Health Failures, Cultural Beliefs
A late response, the disease's spread to urban areas, and superstition have allowed the virus get out of hand.
As the largest Ebola outbreak in history continues unabated, health authorities from 11 West African countries and international agencies began a two-day crisis meeting today in Accra, Ghana, on how to combat the crisis. The World Health Organization (WHO) says "drastic action" is needed to stem the outbreak, which since March has grown to 759 confirmed cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, including 467 deaths.
Given that surveillance and response measures have held this terrifying disease in check for the past decade, why has the situation gotten so far out of hand this time?
As with earlier outbreaks elsewhere in Africa, containment and treatment measures are often hampered by tradition, superstition, and poor public health infrastructure. But this epidemic is especially