Ebola et au-delà

WASHINGTON, DC – Les Etats-Unis et l’Europe ont réagi de manière complétement disproportionnée aux rares cas isolés du virus Ebola apparus au sein de leurs frontières. Ces réactions de panique n’ont pas seulement été futiles. En violant des principes scientifiques de base, elles ont remis en cause les critères éthiques fondamentaux d’une action nécessaire en matière de santé publique. Et alors qu’il s’agit de protéger les individus du virus Ebola – sans même parler de la prévention d’une crise sanitaire mondiale similaire à l’avenir – ces réactions pourraient bien être contreproductives.

Cet excès de zèle a été particulièrement frappant aux Etats-Unis, où la réaction initiale a inclus des contrôles des voyageurs en provenance de la Guinée, du Liberia et de la Sierra Leone. Plus problématique encore, certains États ont imposé une quarantaine de 21 jours aux soignants bénévoles en provenance des pays touchés par l’épidémie. Heureusement, les vives protestations politiques contre ces mesures de quarantaine ont conduit certains gouverneurs à les lever rapidement.

Il est temps pour les pays développés de comprendre que la meilleure manière de protéger leurs citoyens du virus Ebola est d’agir pour enrayer la progression de l’épidémie en Afrique de l’Ouest même. Il est avant tout nécessaire à cette fin de disposer d’une capacité de déploiement rapide face au virus Ebola dans les trois pays les plus touchés. Cette capacité doit comprendre des fonds adéquats (et importants) ; des médecins, des infirmiers, en sus des soignants locaux, bien formés ; et une meilleure formation locale au plan du diagnostic, du traitement, de la recherche des contacts et de l’isolement des individus infectés.

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