(New Scientist) The world has finally got serious about Ebola. In a first for a public health threat, the United Nations has launched the kind of response it normally reserves for war zones. Meanwhile, the US, UK and France are sending troops to build treatment units, train health workers and keep order.
It's not a moment too soon: the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that without a massive effort to slow the epidemic, a million people in West Africa could have Ebola by January. Some will carry it elsewhere, and the virus may circulate non-stop in Africa for the foreseeable future.
In a clear sign that world leaders are worried, the US has earmarked $500 million to fight Ebola, rising to $1 billion if necessary. Whoever pays, the UN says $1 billion will be needed to stop the epidemic, an order of magnitude more than the World Health Organization estimated in July.
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