un-ebola-outbreakLacking a medical solution to the worst Ebola outbreak in history, governments and organizations in West Africa are resorting to a medieval tactic that would radically affect the lives of more than 1 million people, according to the World Health Organization. The method popularized in the era of the Black Death plague in the 14th century, the “cordon sanitaire,” draws a line around the geographic area where the infections are taking place, allowing no one to exit. It hasn’t been used since the end of World War I. Plans to cordon off a triangular area that includes parts of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia were discussed as early as Aug. 1, and troops began closing roads last week in the effort to prevent the deadly virus from spreading further. The WHO is supporting the move. Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO’s director-general, remarked in a briefing in Geneva that the decisions “to seal off the hot zone of disease transmission, that is, the area where the borders of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone intersect, are critical for stopping the re-infection of areas via the cross-border movement of people.” More