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Triage Management, Survival, and the Law in the Age of Ebola

  • Frederick M Burkle (a1) and Christopher M Burkle (a2)

Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea lack the public health infrastructure, economic stability, and overall governance to stem the spread of Ebola. Even with robust outside assistance, the epidemiological data have not improved. Vital resource management is haphazard and left to the discretion of individual Ebola treatment units. Only recently has the International Health Regulations (IHR) and World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, making this crisis their fifth ongoing level 3 emergency. In particular, the WHO has been severely compromised by post-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) staffing, budget cuts, a weakened IHR treaty, and no unambiguous legal mandate. Population-based triage management under a central authority is indicated to control the transmission and ensure fair and decisive resource allocation across all triage categories. The shared responsibilities critical to global health solutions must be realized and the rightful attention, sustained resources, and properly placed legal authority be assured within the WHO, the IHR, and the vulnerable nations. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1-6)

Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to Frederick M. Burkle, Jr, MD, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, 14 Story Street, 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138 (e-mail:
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Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • ISSN: 1935-7893
  • EISSN: 1938-744X
  • URL: /core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness
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