The New York Times reports this morning on developments in the West African Ebola outbreak that should be reassuring to anyone concerned about the diagnosis of a man in Dallas with the disease. Namely: The spread of Ebola has apparently been halted in Nigeria, suggesting that an organized response by public health authorities can contain it here as well:
After the first patient — a dying Liberian-American — flew into Lagos on July 20, Ebola spread to 20 other people there and in a smaller city, Port Harcourt.
They have all now died or recovered, and the cure rate — 60 percent — was unusually high for an African outbreak.
Meanwhile, local health workers paid 18,500 face-to-face visits to repeatedly take the temperatures of nearly 900 people who had contact with them. The last confirmed case was detected on Aug. 31, and virtually all contacts have passed the 21-day incubation period without falling ill.
One key to controlling the disease appears to have been the quick response in tracking down potential infections in those who had contact with the country’s first patient; Nigeria was also able to isolate patients in well-equipped medical facilities with proper sanitation standards. Meanwhile, as this Guardian piece points out, many American hospitals are already prepared for the possibility of an Ebola case, and the treament of the three American missionaries who were brought back for care was handled without any other individuals becoming infected.