Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in the Shadow of Ebola

Lancet Respir Med. 2015 Feb;3(2):100-2. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(14)70316-9. Epub 2015 Jan 13.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in the Shadow of Ebola

Zumla A, S Perlman, SJN McNabb, AT Shaikh, DL Heymann, B McCloskey, and DS Hui

Ebola virus disease was first discovered in 1976 in Zaire1 as a new lethal zoonotic disease affecting human beings. For 38 years, Ebola was restricted to localised outbreaks in a few remote regions of central Africa where it was brought under control rapidly, without attracting global attention.2 The first cases of the ongoing Ebola epidemic—which is the largest outbreak so far—occurred in December, 2013, in Guinea, west Africa.3 Complacency and inaction by national governments and international organisations, even after calls for support from non-governmental organisations such as Medécins sans Frontières, combined with poor health-care systems and infrastructures, led to a rapid increase in the number of cases of the disease, which spread rapidly into neighbouring Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.