Viewpoint: Ebola could become endemic in Congo

Ebola transmission may not end in the Democratic Republic of Congo if health officials maintain current response efforts, one Ebola expert wrote in an op-ed published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases and cited by STAT.

The op-ed's author, Pierre Rollin, MD, served as deputy branch chief of the CDC's Viral Special Pathogens Branch before retiring in January.

He argues that the Congo's Ebola response lacks the coordination necessary to control the outbreak. For example, the country does not have one sole database to track all known Ebola patients and their contacts, which "makes case counts, monitoring, and intervention difficult or even impossible," Dr. Rollin wrote.

Dr. Rollin said Congo health officials must be more willing to accept outside help for laboratory services and real-time genetic sequencing of Ebola viruses.

If these actions are not taken, he said Ebola could become endemic in Congo — an opinion that other Ebola experts disagree with.

As of July 28, the World Health Organization has reported 2,671 confirmed and probable Ebola cases, including 1,790 deaths.

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