Global Emergency Legal Responses to the 2014 Ebola Outbreak
8 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2015
Date Written: December 1, 2014
From their relative obscurity over the past three decades, varied strains of Ebola disease have emerged as a substantial global biothreat. The current outbreak of Ebola, beginning in March 2014 in Guinea, is projected to infect tens of thousands of people before being brought under control. Some estimate the outbreak could exceed 100,000 cases and extend another 12-18 months. Ebola’s spread has the potential to extend across the globe, but is concentrated in several African countries (e.g., Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, and Senegal). Collectively, these countries are home to nearly 290 million people. Among Liberia’s population of 4.1 million, over 1,100 people have already died from Ebola in less than 6 months; by comparison, if this same outbreak and death rate occurred in the United States, over 88,000 Americans would perish. With the numbers of infected still expanding and reported mortality rates exceeding 40% of those infected, international, national, and regional governments have launched various states of emergency authorizing a plethora of public health powers.
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