Latest figures from the world health organization (WHO) indicates that more than 6500 people have been infected in the West Africa region. According to the organization, death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has passed 3000, with Liberia being the worst affected country having an estimated death of 1830. The report also said that 375 health workers are known to have been infected and that 211 have so far died from the virus. Clearly, the Ebola epidemic has spiraled out of control and health professionals are much more worried about its exponential growth as well as the threat of the virus mutating.

The number of infected people continues to double approximately every three weeks resulting in a projection of between 77,000 and 277,000 infections and deaths by the end of this year. Considering the already weak healthcare systems in the affected countries, it will be even more difficult for these countries to cope with the outbreak should these projections prove true.

International response to this tragic outbreak capable of destroying an entire family has been painfully slow. Although recently, the United States promised to send 3000 soldiers to help contain the epidemic by assisting in logistical operations and training  of health care workers. Also, the US congress appropriated $88 million for health and human services in responding to the Ebola crisis but such efforts comes across as onlyhalfhearted.

At the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week Thursday, President Barrack Obama called for more urgent actions referring to the outbreak as a “threat to global security”. But it seems despite its rising death toll, the Ebola outbreak isn’t as urgent a threat to world leaders as the extremist group – the Islamic state. Compared to the $88 million appropriated for Ebola, the United States congress has appropriated $500 million for the fight against the Islamic State.

The group which controls an area roughly the size of Belgium, has been directly responsible for the deaths of at least 5,576 civilians and wounded about 11,665 people in Iraq alone from January until the end of June. The speed of response in forming a 50-nation coalition in the fight against the Islamic State group may have been justified by the brutality and spread of the extremist group, however this leaves a rather saddening impression on what determines the priority of response within the international community.

The Ebola epidemic is as serious a threat as the brutal killings by the Islamic state, as such nations must be willing to go beyond sympathetic messages and respond to the catastrophic trend of this outbreak with the same sense of urgency that brought together a global alliance against the Islamic State group.