One year has passed since the declaration of what became the largest Ebola outbreak in history, with more than 10,000 deaths.
The virus escaped control as countries and global agencies failed to acknowledge and contend with the magnitude of its spread. Treatment centers were overwhelmed. Sick people died on city streets, and new cases multiplied inside health care facilities, killing a significant proportion of the already inadequate health work force of the three most affected countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
However, after two American aid workers and a traveler to Nigeria fell ill last summer, setting off a panic, a huge global initiative to combat Ebola swung into place. The effort has been messy, inefficient and expensive, often lagging the epidemic’s twists in tragic ways.
But the effort has also established expertise that may be built upon to prevent similar tragedies in the future — and shown personal and institutional bravery.“None of us have ever been involved in anything of this magnitude, complexity and potential severity before,” said Dr. David Nabarro, the United Nations special envoy for Ebola. “There’s a huge process of analysis and lesson learning underway.”