Ebola seems to have taken up a significant portion of the news stream as of late.
It’s understandable, given the breadth of the epidemic (largest ever), the fact that it’s hit our shores, and that it’s so frightening: hemorrhage! death!
I wrote a first-person account of the time I was asked to evaluate someone for SARS, a 2002-2003 novel disease outbreak that originated in China and spread quickly to the West (in the end, only 27 U.S cases and no deaths; in Canada, 251 cases and 44 deaths).
SARS is a descriptive name: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. We subsequently learned that it’s caused by a corona virus and that it’s spread by contact and respiratory droplets.
The outbreak died down as quickly as it flared up, and it’s nary been heard from since.
Here’s the concluding graf from the story–as true for Ebola as it was for SARS:
Today’s Ebola crisis makes clear what the many of us were slow to accept in 2003. It takes clear thinking, painstaking preparation, flawless execution and clear communication to protect the public health.
We can only hope that Ebola recedes and becomes a distant memory, also.