This week the London Review of Books published an essay by PIH Co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer in which he reflects on a recent trip to Liberia and assesses the severity of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Dr. Farmer writes:
Weak health systems are also to blame for the high case-fatality rates in the current pandemic, which is caused by the Zaire strain of the virus. The obverse of this fact—and it is a fact—is the welcome news that the spread of the disease can be stopped by linking better infection control (to protect the uninfected) to improved clinical care (to save the afflicted). An Ebola diagnosis need not be a death sentence. Here’s my assertion as an infectious disease specialist: if patients are promptly diagnosed and receive aggressive supportive care—including fluid resuscitation, electrolyte replacement and blood products—the great majority, as many as 90 percent, should survive.
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