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[Correspondence] Two data points for gauging outbreak control

Is it under control? This question is asked whenever an outbreak is afoot and has been the conundrum surrounding the current Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where, because of community mistrust and ongoing violence, case totals have risen sharply. Alhough there are times when an outbreak is undoubtedly within grasp or clearly out of hand, the degree to which an outbreak is under control is often difficult to gauge even by the individuals responding to it. Outbreak control is typically assessed based on the trajectory of new cases and the overall picture depicted in situation reports issued by WHO, which detail response efforts and provide related data, such as the number of contacts being monitored.