Ebola is a virus that spreads through the transmission of bodily fluids from person to person. At it’s deadliest, Ebola has been known to kill up to 90% of those it infects. The current strain which is spreading throughout western africa is killing about 60%. It is believed that the current strain originated in bat guano and somehow infected a human. It infected it’s first victims in rural areas and has since moved into more urban ones. The CDC in Atlanta recently declared this outbreak an “international emergency”, meaning it will divert all resources to solving this problem. However, there are many obstacles. Healthcare professionals have been infected, some have died, and all are at least a little scared to deal with this disease. Some workers in the afflicted countries have refused to see patients out of fear of contracting the virus themselves. Other cultural issues have discouraged patients from seeing doctors out of mistrust. I have read stories of people who are afraid that western doctors will try to harvest their organs. I have read some about folks who dont recognize the severity of the disease. I have also read about how some people think that western doctors treat africans like lab rats and use experimental treatments on them. These factors prevent the infected from getting the help they need.
The author of this article talks a lot about just how vast the region of the outbreak actually is and the resources that are required to contain the area are spread quite thin. He also touches on just how disturbing of an experience this can be for family members and that the horror of this illness could lead to the distrust of doctors. “A loved one goes into some green tent, with people in space suits that don’t look like Africans, and never comes out again; that is an environment that breeds a lot of suspicion and stories that are very counterproductive to the efforts of public health.” This fear could cause more and more families to refuse treatment and risk many more infections.
Schwartz, Daniel. “Ebola outbreak: it’s not the virus but Africa that’s changed”. CBC. Aug 08, 2014. Viewed Aug 08, 2014