2014 Ebola Outbreak

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2014 Ebola Outbreak

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

02 Aug 2014, 19:46 #1

Ebola outbreak 'moving faster than efforts to control it', says WHO chief
Efforts shift to finding those who have come into contact with victims as Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia battle epidemic

Monica Mark, West Africa Correspondent
The Guardian, Friday 1 August 2014 17.51 BST

This week, Awa Faye added a new feature to her restaurant on a crowded street in Sierra Leone's hilly capital of Freetown: a sign that instructs all patrons to wash their hands in the buckets of chlorinated water positioned outside. "I don't allow anybody inside if they don't wash your hands. We're all trying to protect ourselves from Ebola one way or another," said the 55-year old, who put the sign up after learning that the country's top Ebola doctor had died on Tuesday.

Over in neighbouring Liberia, residents in the capital Monrovia have also been placing "Ebola buckets" outside offices, restaurants and homes. In Guinea, the prices of hand sanitiser and rubber gloves have soared.

Initially focusing battling misinformation and mistrust, the effort to curb the world's biggest outbreak of Ebola, now spread across three nations, has shifted its emphasis to treating the number of cases coming forward, and finding those who have come into contact with victims of the highly contagious virus.

As Sierra Leone and Liberia declared states of emergency this week, a summit between the presidents of all three countries and the World Health Organisation underlined a renewed sense of urgency over the largest ever epidemic of the disease, which has so far claimed 729 lives.

"This outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it," Margaret Chan, head of the global health body, said on Friday following a crisis meeting in Guinea's capital of Conakry.

"If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries."

Chan added that the longer the virus circulated, the more it became a public risk: "Constant mutation and adaptation are the survival mechanisms of viruses and other microbes. We must not give this virus opportunities to deliver more surprises."

WHO said the summit "must mark a turning point". A $100m fund will be used to back an emergency plan by all three countries.

Guinea ranked last in a 2011 World Bank study of beds per capita, and Liberia and Sierra Leone are both recovering from almost two decades of uninterrupted civil war. The already weak health services are over stretched and have struggled to cope.

Spread through contact with bodily fluids of infected patients, bush meat or surfaces, Ebola has no known cure or vaccine, although early detection gives a greater chance of survival. Symptoms may take up to 21 days to appear.

In Guinea, where the outbreak started, cases have now been confined to the forested interior region. But health officials there said new hotspots have flared up, fuelled by cross-border trade and family ties.

"Yesterday we had a case of a man who fell ill while in Liberia. He came back home to Macenta [the disease epicentre] so his family could look after him. They took him to hospital thinking it was malaria, and only there discovered it was in fact Ebola," said Sakouba Keita, the ministry of health official directing the country's Ebola response.

Bah Mamdou, a taxi driver in the frontier town of Nzérékoré, said he had to continue plying his trade across the border to earn an income. "The way I see it, either I die of starvation or I die of Ebola. I won't take any passengers that have the symptoms but in most cases it's malaria," whose early symptoms mimic those of Ebola, and kill thousands each year.

The response has been further hampered as NGOs have steadily reduced support staff in the affected countries. They include WaterAid and Samaritan's Purse, a medical charity where two US doctors have contracted the disease. "My gut instinct is that it's going to get worse before it gets better, and we can't afford to take those risks anymore," the director of another organisation told The Guardian.

"If you leave behind even one burning ember, one case undetected, it could reignite the epidemic," Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters this week. He said the situation could take three to six months to bring under control. "CDC along with others are surging to begin to turn the tide. It's not going to be quick. It's not going to be easy. But we know what to do _ so difficult as it is, it can be done"

The CDC said it would send a further 50 specialists to boost the several dozen more expected from the World Health Organisation.

In a region with communities are interlinked across porous borders, other countries are already tightening preventative measures. Nigerian officials began screening airport and seaport passengers this week after a Liberian man who collapsed in Lagos airport was later confirmed to have died of Ebola.

Further west, Ivory Coast set up four "surveillance posts" equipped with epidemiologists along its western border, where many maintain strong ties with Liberia. "For now we're on red alert, and we haven't ruled out closing our borders. We're obviously concerned and doing everything possible to prevent its spread," government spokesperson Bruno Kone said. Four women have been arrested for illegally selling bush meat in Yamoussoukro, the country's capital located near the centre, he added.

Health officials in Germany and France have advised against non-essential travel to the three affected nations, and the outbreak has had unexpected effects beyond its borders. A military spokesperson for the African Union said it had cancelled a Sierra Leonean battalion rotation to Somalia, where the organisation is battling Al-Shabab Islamists.


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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

02 Aug 2014, 19:48 #2

Ebola outbreak can be halted, says WHO chief
West Africa outbreak ‘moving faster than our efforts to control it’, says Margaret Chan

Sat, Aug 2, 2014, 01:00

First published: Sat, Aug 2, 2014, 01:00

An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in west Africa is out of control but can be stopped with more resources and tougher measures, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Margaret Chan said yesterday.

The outbreak is the worst since the disease was discovered in the mid-1970s, with 729 deaths in four different countries.

“This outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it,” Ms Chan told the presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone at an emergency meeting in Guinea’s capital, Conakry.

“If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socio- economic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries,” she said.

But the outbreak could be stopped and the public was not at high risk of infection, she added.

Governments might need to restrict population movements and public gatherings, and use the police and civil defence forces to guarantee the security of response teams, she said.

Medical workers

With healthcare systems struggling to cope, more than 60 medical workers have lost their lives, hampering efforts to tackle the disease.

Two Americans working for aid group Samaritan’s Purse who contracted the disease in Liberia were in a serious condition and would be medically evacuated by early next week, the organisation said.

Liberia has put in place measures including closing all schools and some government departments as well as possibly quarantining affected communities. Sierra Leone declared a state of emergency and called in troops to isolate Ebola victims.

However, the leader of Guinea’s Ebola taskforce said his country would not be following these moves.

“Some measures taken by our neighbours could make the fight against Ebola even harder,” said Aboubacar Sidiki Diakit, citing in particular the closure of schools.

“When children are not supervised, they can go anywhere and make the problem worse.”

The outbreak has prompted some international organisations to withdraw. The US Peace Corps has said it was withdrawing 340 volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Samaritans Purse said yesterday it would complete the evacuation of its 60 international staff from Liberia over the weekend.

WaterAid said yesterday it was suspending its operations there as well.

The WHO is launching a $100 million response plan and the US is providing material and technical support to the three countries. Further assistance will be discussed at a meeting in Washington next week.

– (Reuters)

Sat, Aug 2, 2014, 01:00

First published: Sat, Aug 2, 2014, 01:00


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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

02 Aug 2014, 19:50 #3

Ebola Outbreak: Emory University Isolation Unit To Treat Kent Brantly And Nancy Writebol
By Charles Poladian@CharlieAllDayc.poladian@ibtimes.com
on August 02 2014 10:54 AM

Two Americans infected with the Ebola virus will be treated at Emory University Hospital. The first patient will arrive on Saturday in a modified aircraft equipped with an Aeromedical Biological Containment System. Reuters

Two Americans infected with the Ebola virus, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, aid workers from Samaritan's Purse, will return to the U.S. from Liberia and receive treatment at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital’s special isolation unit that handles cases of infectious disease. Brantly will arrive on Saturday and Writebol will arrive next week.

Emory University Hospital released a statement discussing its plans to treat the Ebola patients and explaining the uniqueness of the facility. "We have a specially built isolation unit set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases. It is physically separate from other patient areas and has unique equipment and infrastructure that provide an extraordinarily high level of clinical isolation. It is one of only four such facilities in the country.”

The "state-of-the-art," three-bed isolation unit, built in 2005, is located on the ground floor in Emory University Hospital's General Clinical Research Center. Bruce Ribner, epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at Emory, said the unit was built to handle possible infections of CDC personnel who work at research labs in Atlanta.

There was some concern about bringing Brantly and Writebol back to the U.S. for treatment, but CDC director Thomas Frieden said it was unlikely the transfer would cause an Ebola outbreak or result in anyone contracting the virus.

Speaking on the evacuation procedures, U.S. State Department Marie Harf said in a statement, “The CDC has devised plans and equipment to do it safely. Patients were evacuated in similar ways during the SARS outbreak in 2003 and in cases involving drug-resistant tuberculosis in 2007,” reports NBCNews.

Unlike other infectious diseases like SARS and measles, which are spread through the air, the Ebola virus is contracted through prolonged exposure to infected patients.

Brantly will arrive at Dobbins Air Force Reserve Base on Saturday and will be treated by four infectious disease doctors, reports Reuters. He was receiving blood transfusions from a 14-year-old survivor while Writebol was receiving an experimental serum. At Emory, the doctors will monitor the Ebola patients but will mainly rely on the patients' own immune systems to fight the disease. Ribner said to Reuters, "Basically we depend on the body's defense system to control the virus. We just have to keep the patient alive long enough for the body to control this infection."

Due to the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, several airlines have canceled flights to West African countries or issued travel warnings. On Saturday, Emirates Airlines announced it was suspending flights to Guinea, reports Reuters. There have been more than 700 deaths due to Ebola as the virus has infected patients in Guinea, Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone.


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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

02 Aug 2014, 19:52 #4

Obama: Attendees Will Be Screened for Ebola Before U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

By Jessica Plautz2014-08-02 00:34:54 UTC

President Obama announced Friday that African leaders attending a summit in Washington, D.C., next week will be screened for Ebola.

At least 729 people have died and more than 1,300 people have fallen ill from the viral disease in the worst outbreak ever, primarily affecting Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

"We're making sure we're doing screening as [they leave from their home airports] and some additional screening here," Obama said. Attendees who had "even a marginal risk ... of having been exposed" to Ebola could be screened after arriving in the U.S, he added.

The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, held from Aug. 4 - 6, will welcome about 50 representatives from nations across Africa to Washington, D.C.

The summit is intended to "build on the progress made since the President’s trip to Africa last summer, advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people," according to the White House. It is the largest event any U.S. president has held to welcome African leaders.

Attendees will visit the White House, the State Department, the World Bank and Capitol Hill.

The Ebola outbreak is keeping leaders from Liberia and Sierra Leone from attending.

"If all of the infectious individuals come from the same geographic region, passenger screening and quarantine procedures are usually the first measures implemented to prevent against the spread of infectious diseases," said Nicholas Yager, a biochemist who has studied disease propagation through airport networks.

The risk of spreading the pathogen at airports is low, and with proper precautions, health officials are not concerned about the disease spreading in the U.S. A medically-outfitted private jet will bring two American aid workers who are ill with the disease from West Africa to Atlanta in the next week. The aid workers will receive treatment at Emory University Hospital, which has one of the best isolation units for highly infectious diseases in the U.S.


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Obama: U.S. prepared for Ebola

Published on 1 Aug 2014

The President comments on the Ebola outbreak and precautions being taken in advance of the upcoming Africa summit.


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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

02 Aug 2014, 21:58 #5

President Obama in August will welcome leaders from across the African continent to the Nation’s Capital for a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the first such event of its kind. This Summit, the largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government, will build on the President’s trip to Africa in the summer of 2013 and it will strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions. Specifically, the August 4-6 Summit will advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people. At the same time, it will highlight the depth and breadth of the United States’ commitment to the African continent, advance our shared priorities and enable discussion of concrete ideas to deepen the partnership. At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa.

The theme of the Summit is "Investing in the Next Generation." Focusing on the next generation is at the core of a government’s responsibility and work, and this Summit is an opportunity to discuss ways of stimulating growth, unlocking opportunities, and creating an enabling environment for the next generation.


Investing in Health: Investing in Africa's Future

The "Investing in Health: Investing in Africa’s Future" Signature Event will bring together senior U.S. government officials, African leaders, Ministers of Health, and senior health policy makers who will envision the future of U.S.-African global health partnerships in achieving global health security, promoting science and health, reaching an AIDS-free generation, and ending preventable child and maternal deaths.

This discussion will highlight the decades-long U.S.-African health partnership that has saved and improved millions of lives. It will also be an opportunity for U.S. and African leaders to agree on how we can further advance our shared health and development goals through our strong partnerships.


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U.S., partner nations gather in Malawi for Exercise Southern Accord 14
Salima, Malawi , July 30th, 2014

Civilian and military personnel from Malawi Defense Force, the U.S. and other partner nations have gathered in Lilongwe, Malawi to participate in the U.S. Africa Command-sponsored Exercise Southern Accord 14, July 14-31.

Comprising approximately 200 participants from ten countries, SA14 combines academics and team building into a command post exercise built around a fictional deployment in support of a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

"Over the next two weeks, we will help shape the future of military cooperation in southern Africa," said Maj. Gen. RRK Chimowa, Commandant of the Malawi Armed Forces College (MAFCO), during the Opening Ceremony in Salima, Malawi on July 15.

The U.S. Army Africa-executed SA14 exercise is an example of U.S. and African countries training together to contribute to a desired end state of a secure and stable Africa.

"The purpose of this exercise is to sustain tactical proficiency, improve multi-echelon operations and to develop multi-national logistical capabilities in an austere, forward environment," said Brig. Gen. Peter L. Corey, Deputy Commanding General of U.S. Army Africa. "Our desired endstate of this exercise is to help one another create a safe, stable and secure Africa -- which in turn, supports common U.S. and Southern African security interests."

Corey said the U.S. is proud to be affiliated with its African partners and the training and sharing of experiences made possible through the 'Accord' exercises.

"Partnering with African nations, whether bilaterally, collectively, or through regional organizations is fundamental to our ability to address our mutual security interests and to mitigate existing and developing security risks," Corey said. "The professional relationships make us better Soldiers, and the friendships guarantee lasting results," Corey said.

In addition to Soldiers from USARAF and the 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, other participants include officers from the German Bundeswehr Geospacial Intelligence Division, civilian instructors from the British Peace Support Team -- Pretoria, and military personnel from Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Namibia.

Next year's exercise is scheduled to be held in Zambia.


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Mozambique Unveils Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Plans at USAFRICOM Sponsored Event
MAPUTO, Mozambique, July 29th, 2014

The Government of  Mozambique in partnership with the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP), successfully concluded day one of the Cabinet Simulation Exercise on Disaster Preparedness and Response in Maputo, 28 July 2014. 

More than 140 representatives of Mozambique’s government, military, national media, African partner nations and international organizations gathered at the Radisson Blu, Maputo to unveil Mozambique’s National Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan along with the Military Support to Civil Authorities Disaster Contingency Plan.

Senior officials attending the event included, Alberto Vaquina, Prime Minister of Mozambique; Jose Tsambe, Deputy Minister of State Administration; Agostinho Mondlane, Minister of National Defense; Joao Ribeiro, Director General, National Institute of  Disaster Management; Mark Cassayre, Charge d’ Affaires, U.S Embassy Maputo; and Michael Hryshchyshyn, Chief, Humanitarian and Health Activities, USAFRICOM.

Prime Minister Vaquina presided over the unveiling of the plans. The ceremony marked the commencement of a five day event that includes a tabletop exercise and a review of Mozambique’s Disaster Management Strategic Work Plan (DMSWP) for defining future capacity and capability building activities. “Mozambique is a country that by its geographic location is vulnerable to natural disasters.” remarked Prime Minister Vaquina. He further noted “the simulation exercise this week will contribute to prevention measures that are being adopted by our country in order to respond to emergency situations that have affected our communities.”

In his opening remarks,  Charge d’ Affaires Cassayre  stated “today’s program will fine tune the work that has already been completed on these plans, while, at the same time, creating an opportunity for senior and mid-level civilian and military leaders to enhance their knowledge in disaster management and pandemic preparedness while strengthening civil-military disaster response coordination,”

The week-long exercise is structured to clarify the roles and responsibilities of civil and military authorities to respond to large-scale disasters. It also allows the Government of Mozambique to identify disaster management strengths, weaknesses and gaps.  Participants will be grouped into five teams representing the National Emergency Operations Center (CENOE), Information and Planning, Communications, Infrastructure and Social Sectors.

“This simulation event is going to facilitate interaction and identify the sectors we need to focus on in the event of a natural disaster,” stated Director General Ribeiro. He also noted that holding a simulation activity is a way to “prepare to implement an appropriate response.”

Subject matter experts from African Partner Nations including, Benin, Liberia, Nigeria, Togo, Tanzania (Zanzibar) and Uganda are participating in the exercise as facilitators. Ultimately, the goal is to increase the collaboration of African nations to better respond to disasters.

“This event will assist you in reviewing your current capabilities and capacities,” said Hryshchyshyn. “It will further assist in identifying areas where we could work together when preparing for and mitigating a complex humanitarian emergency, such as in a severe pandemic disaster, flood, or other catastrophic situations.”  Hryshchyshyn further stated that it is critically necessary for African Partner Nations to collaborate closely with neighboring countries, as many times these challenges know no borders.

The USAFRICOM DPP supports African Nations to enhance their capacity to mitigate, prepare for and respond to disasters.  DPP is being implemented by the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine.


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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro

Joined: 06 Nov 2006, 17:39

02 Aug 2014, 22:42 #6

Liberia: top doctor becomes latest Ebola victim
Dr Samuel Brisbane becomes first doctor in west African nation to die, as second US healthcare worker is infected

Agencies in Monrovia and Washington
The Guardian, Sunday 27 July 2014 18.03 BST

One of Liberia's most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola, a government official said on Sunday, and a second US healthcare worker has been infected in what the World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling the largest outbreak ever recorded of the disease.

Dr Samuel Brisbane is the first Liberian doctor to die in an outbreak, which the WHO says has killed 129 people in the west African nation. A Ugandan doctor working in the country died this month.

Brisbane, who once served as a medical adviser to the former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, was working as a consultant with the internal medicine unit at the country's largest hospital, the John F Kennedy Memorial Medical Center in Monrovia.

After falling ill, he was taken to a treatment centre on the outskirts of the capital, where he died, said Tolbert Nyenswah, an assistant health minister.Under the supervision of health workers, family members escorted the doctor's body to a burial location west of the city, Nyenswah said.

He said another doctor who had been working in Liberia's central Bong County was being treated for Ebola at the centre where Brisbane died.

The situation "is getting more and more scary," Nyenswah said.

Last week Sierra Leone's top Ebola doctor fell ill with the disease and in Liberia, Samaritan's Purse, a Christian charity, announced at the weekend that an American doctor was infected. Dr Kent Brantly had been isolated at the group's Ebola treatment centre at the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital, Monrovia.

A second American, Nancy Writebol, later tested positive for the virus at the same medical compound, said Ken Isaacs, of Samaritan's Purse. Isaacs said Writebol, who works with the allied aid group SIM, was in a stable but serious condition at a hospital near Monrovia.

Brantly received intensive treatment on Sunday and was talking to his medical team and working on his computer, said Melissa Strickland, a spokeswoman for Samaritan's Purse.

"We are hopeful, but he is certainly not out of the woods yet," Strickland said.

In Nigeria, officials announced on Friday that a Liberian official had died of Ebola after flying from Monrovia to Lagos raising fears that other passengers could take the disease beyond Africa. The WHO says the outbreak has also killed 319 people in Guinea and 224 in Sierra Leone.

Liberia's president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, used her Independence Day address to discuss a new taskforce to combat Ebola. Information minister, Lewis Brown, said: "It will go from community to community, from village to village, from town to town in order to increase awareness."

There is no known cure for Ebola, which begins with symptoms including fever and sore throat but then escalates to vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.

Experts believe the west African outbreak could have begun in January in south-east Guinea, though the first cases were not confirmed until March.

Since then, officials have tried to contain the disease by isolating victims and educating populations on how to avoid transmission, though porous borders, satellite outbreaks and widespread distrust of health workers have made the outbreak difficult to bring under control.


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"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." Leonard Schapiro

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

06 Aug 2014, 20:44 #7

Twenty year old cultural references:
Outbreak is a 1995 American medical disaster film directed by Wolfgang Petersen. The film stars Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman and co-stars Cuba Gooding, Jr., Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland and Patrick Dempsey.

The film focuses on an outbreak of a fictional Ebola-like virus called Motaba in Zaire and later in a small town in the United States. Its primary settings are government disease control centers USAMRIID and the CDC, and the fictional town of Cedar Creek, California. Outbreak's plot speculates how far military and civilian agencies might go to contain the spread of a deadly contagion.

The film was released on March 10, 1995 and proved a box office success, spending three weeks at the top of the domestic box office. The film was nominated for various awards but failed to garner any major award nominations. It also raised various "what-if" scenarios: media outlets began to question what the government would really do in a similar situation and if the CDC has plans in case an outbreak ever does occur. A real-life outbreak of the Ebola virus occurred in Zaire only a few months after the film was released.
Outbreak (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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