The grim future if Ebola goes global

I wanted to be sure I wasn’t over-imagining what might happen next with Ebola, if it is not contained at its source now. For a fact-check, I turned to Jody Lanard and Peter Sandman, two risk-communication experts who have been involved in most of the big epidemic threats of the past decades. (I met them, I think, in the first run-up of concern over H5N1 avian flu in 2003.)

I hoped they would tell me not to be too worried about Ebola becoming a permanent threat in West Africa. Instead, they told me to be very worried indeed.

Lanard and Sandman wrote an entire essay in response to my query to them, and they have put it up on their website (which is worth visiting as a deep resource of reasonable thinking about how to approach infectious disease). They call our refusal to engage with the depth of the epidemic in Africa, and its possible consequences for the world, “Failures of Imagination.”