As the Ebola virus reaches Europe and North America, Wikistrat looks at the challenge posed by the epidemic to health policy globally. A report proposing four future pathways for the disease, and how the global public health system manages it, is released today.
Since a major outbreak of the Ebola virus disease was first reported in Guinea in March 2014, an epidemic has spread across West Africa. Already, this is the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history. The disease is no longer contained to the region: a Saudi Arabian man traveling home from Sierra Leone is believed to have died of Ebola in early August and several Americans are treated for the disease in the United States. There is no known cure, although one American doctor diagnosed with the virus was found Ebola-free after taking experimental drugs in August.
While there is widespread concern about the spread of the disease, there are arguments against Ebola becoming a pandemic. The virus is not airborne and cannot survive outside the body for long. Symptoms become apparent quickly and patients typically die before infecting more than one or two others.
These realities have done little to quell the panic. Saudi Arabia has stopped issuing visas to Muslim pilgrims from West Africa. British Airways has suspended all flights to and from both Liberia and Sierra Leone. Western governments have advised their citizens to avoid the region. However, civil unrest, the absence of adequate medical services and low trust in both authority and foreign aid workers might pose the biggest risk.
From August to September 2014, Wikistrat conducted a crowdsourced simulation during which experts examined the challenge posed by the West African Ebola outbreak to health policy globally. Analysts proposed both positive and negative outcomes within comprehensive, competing scenario pathways of the epidemic’s spread and termination.
In the report released today, Wikistrat Senior Analyst Prof. Randy Cheek synthesizes the dozens of scenarios that were proposed during the simulation and offers key strategic takeaways for companies and governments that could be affected by the epidemic.
Click here or on the cover image to download the full PDF report.
For more information about Wikistrat and for access to the full simulation archive, contact [email protected]