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Will Zuckerberg’s $25M Ebola Donation Spur More?

Maureen Mackey

Mark Zuckerberg, one of the co-founders of Facebook whose personal wealth is estimated at $32.4 billion, announced this morning that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are donating $25 million to help fight the battle against Ebola.

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg, 30, said “we need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long-term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio.”

Related: Ebola Patient Needs $500,000 to Cover Medical Bills

The $25 million grant, he said, will help both the CDC and experts on the front lines with creating care centers, training staff and identifying and isolating new cases.

“We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field” to prevent further spread of the disease, said Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg isn’t the first billionaire to donate to the cause. Early in September the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said it was committing $50 million to support beefing up emergency efforts to contain Ebola in West Africa and stop the virus’s spread. “We also want to accelerate the development of treatments, vaccines and diagnostics that can help end this epidemic and prevent future outbreaks,” said Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Gates Foundation, in a statement at the time.

Ebola cases in West Africa (Data: WHO / Chart CC BY 4.0: JV Chamary / Source: http://onforb.es/1sCVxE1)

Related: Biggest Threat to an Ebola Outbreak? Budget Cuts 

The United Nations said last month it would need roughly $1 billion to effectively fight the virus – which so far has killed over 4,000 people (the total number of cases is over 8,000). If the disease isn’t contained the CDC has estimated there could be hundreds of thousands of Ebola cases in the next few months. While the U.S. and other nations have pledged tens of millions – for everything from medicine and protective gear to safe burials for victims – there is still a long way to go and “individual and corporate donations to support Ebola response efforts” are way behind other donations after such natural disasters as the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines, CNN Money reported.

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