In DepthInfectious Diseases

As Ebola fades, a new threat

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Science  13 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6227, pp. 1189
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6227.1189

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A second, often overlooked, public health crisis is brewing in the countries hardest hit by Ebola, epidemiologists warn. The Ebola epidemic has devastated already weak public health systems and disrupted childhood vaccinations in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. As a result, unless action is taken quickly, preventable childhood diseases will likely soar. Measles, in particular, is considered a sentinel of a broken health system, often hitting early and hard in the aftermath of a disaster. In a paper in this week's issue of Science, researchers put some sobering numbers on the size of a potential measles outbreak in the region post-Ebola. In the worst case, they warn, a measles outbreak could kill thousands more people than Ebola has.