Responder ao Ébola

NOVA IORQUE – A terrível epidemia do Ébola em pelo menos quatro países da África Ocidental (Guiné, Libéria, Serra Leoa e Nigéria) não exige apenas uma resposta de emergência para deter o surto; também apela a repensar alguns pressupostos básicos da saúde pública global. Vivemos numa era de doenças infecciosas emergentes e reemergentes que podem espalhar-se rapidamente através das redes globais. Precisamos por isso de um sistema global de controlo de doenças que seja comensurável com essa realidade. Felizmente, um tal sistema está ao nosso alcance se investirmos de modo apropriado.

O Ébola é a última de muitas epidemias recentes, que também incluem a SIDA, a SRAS, a gripe H1N1, a gripe H7N9, e outras. A SIDA é o mais mortífero destes assassinos, reclamando perto de 36 milhões de vidas desde 1981.

Evidentemente serão possíveis epidemias ainda maiores e mais súbitas, como a gripe de 1918, que durante a I Guerra Mundial reclamou 50-100 milhões de vidas (muito mais do que a própria guerra). E embora o surto de SRAS de 2003 tenha sido contido, causando menos de 1.000 mortos, a doença esteve à beira de perturbar profundamente várias economias da Ásia Oriental, incluindo a da China.

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