For the trusting and the hopeful: Ebola, Everything will be ok!
So, Ebola has arrived, the Black Death of the 21st century and we’re all going to die. Not so fast!
Ok, Ebola is a horrible disease but we’ve gotten a lot of things going for us to be hopeful about. First is that Ebola is not an airborne virus, certainly there is some debate about how easily it spreads via aerosolized droplets, but no one is saying Ebola could spread through a ventilation system in a hospital or office building and unlikely would widely spread through an airplane.
So the virus even if it does get into the US will be hard to spread. You may naturally ask, so why is it spreading so fast in Africa. There are a number of reasons, most are related to resources and infrastructure. In countries like Sierra Leone hospitals do not have adequate quarantine facilities, health care workers do not have proper protective gear, sometimes they don’t even have rubber gloves and masks!
The second thing that helps the spread is a lack of good infrastructure which does not allow for authorities to easily contact trace. Contact tracing is when health workers track down every contact an infected person had once they became contagious. For obvious reasons, this is far more effective in a country like the US where we have easy to find street addresses and the resources to track people down. Not to mention the ability to track cell phones and lots of media to help in locating folks.
The other issue health officials face in Western Africa is a population with a high percentage of uneducated citizens overly susceptible to superstition.Many people in Western Africa do not believe Ebola is real and some believe that health officials are actually killing people. So in many cases when family members get sick they keep them at home and don’t tell anyone, eventually infecting the whole family and others who come in contact with them. In some cases health workers have even been attacked!
In the US we certainly face a percentage of folks who will believe it’s a hoax, but a scared populace and a motivated government will allow for contact tracing to be done very effectively as it has been surrounding the Dallas case. The second big reason we don’t have to worry about Ebola in the US is that now that the developing world has become truly worried, we’re starting to throw enough resources at the outbreak to help stop it. First the US and other countries have been deploying expert personnel and resources to Africa. Additionally, a new vaccine is being fast tracked to help out and limit the spread of the infection by GlaxoSmithKline, a US company. This fast track vaccine trial is being publicly funded as well and of course being a US company we’ll have prime access to the finish product and they are already in production of 10,000 doses of the vaccine.
So yes, the Ebola outbreak is bad, it will spread but here in the US we are about as safe as anywhere on the planet, so relax and sweet dreams. ~ ZD Blue
PS – want to scare the crap out of yourself read this: For the cynical and the conspiracy minded: Ebola, This is the End!