The Washington Post’s editorial board says the Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreak in Saudi Arabia is a good place to begin to learn the lessons of Ebola and focus the world’s attention before it is too late.
Since 2012, MERS has infected 1,042 people and killed 419. There is no known vaccine or cure. So far, there is not sustained human-to-human transmission, although the virus has spread among people in close contact and in hospitals.
A “breach” in Saudi Arabia is of concern to the whole world. Air travel has made it easy for people to carry infectious diseases far and wide; recently, the Philippines, which sends many workers to Saudi Arabia, reported its first case of MERS. Last year, in the two-month period of May and June, flights from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates brought 30,680 travelers to New York, 24,514 to Washington, 14,567 to Atlanta and more to other US cities.