America Has Another Ebola Patient

A healthcare volunteer in Sierra Leone has been flown to Maryland for treatment after contracting the virus.

On Thursday, health officials confirmed that an American volunteer in Sierra Leone had contracted Ebola and would be flown to a National Institutes of Health facility in Maryland for treatment. The unidentified patient is the first American to be diagnosed with the virus since October, when a New York doctor's case was confirmed.

The Context

Despite a precipitous drop in cases—the latest Ebola report by the World Health Organization counted fewer than 60 new confirmed cases in Sierra Leone and Guinea in March and none in Liberia—the death toll in the largest-ever outbreak also passed a grim benchmark on Thursday with 10,000 recorded deaths in West Africa.

"This thing isn’t over yet," former Ebola Czar Ron Klain told Vox last week. "Even though we got cases down in Liberia, Ebola could come back so building the Ebola treatment units for future outbreaks of Ebola ostensibly is a very useful thing."

The United Nations maintains hope that with sustained funding and efforts, the outbreak will be over by the summer.

Possible Implications

According to some researchers, the campaign to battle Ebola in West Africa has diverted resources and focus from child immunization programs that could lead to a surge in measles cases. "For every extra month that health-care systems are disrupted," Reuters reported, "international researchers said up to 20,000 children aged between nine months and five years were put at risk."

Measles, as we learned earlier this year, is much more easily transmitted than Ebola.