The Grim Future if Ebola Goes Global

Ebola-world-inline-660x440Maryn McKenna at Wired:

It is not guaranteed, they say, that a successful vaccine against Ebola can be “developed, produced, and distributed” in time, and in large enough amounts, to throw a fence of containment around the disease.

If not, they warn, it is possible that the rest of the world’s reaction could trigger the next global financial crisis.

Being someone who has a professional specialty of covering epidemics (HIV, the anthrax attacks, SARS, H5N1, H1N1, lots of smaller outbreaks), I reluctantly have to conclude: Lanard and Sandman are not being alarmist here. Imagine that Ebola cannot be contained; think back to the events of this weekend; and then imagine that reaction multiplied thousands of times. It isn’t a big leap to the suspicion, disruption and expense that will then be triggered in response to any travelers from the region. From there, it isn’t much of a further leap to closed borders, curbs on international movement, disruption in global trade, cuts in productivity, even civil unrest and the opportunities that unrest offers to extremist movements. None of that is far-fetched, if Ebola is not controlled.

more here.