Your Cell Phone Is Spreading Ebola – by Laurie Garrett (Foreigh Policy – April 17, 2019)

Last week, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), declined to declare the ongoing outbreak of Ebola a global emergency.

His decision came on the advice of an expert scientific panel; it was dubious nevertheless. Whatever the world chooses to call it, the disease is now on the edge of catastrophe that requires an urgent response. The most urgent of all is also among the least direct. It doesn’t involve Ebola at all but rather the inside of our cell phones.

As of April 13, the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has sickened 1,251 people, killing 803, or 64 percent, of the infected. (This is well past the threshold of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, which was formally declared a global health emergency by WHO on Aug. 8, 2014.)

Despite the fact that nearly 100,000 people have been immunized with a vaccine that is 97.5 percent effective, infections are soaring, spread over a wide geography that is constantly catching international epidemic control experts by surprise.

Many of the Ebola dead never sought care, remaining unknown to authorities until their demise and dying in their homes surrounded by virally exposed friends and family, risking further expansion of the epidemic.

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