Ebola is a health problem that has been around for quite some time but recently has gained a large amount of attention in the United States. This extremely contagious disease has had outbreaks before, but has become more noteworthy due to its spread around the globe. The disease is thought to have likely started in Guinea and was ignored by officials and spread through the popular trade post. The disease currently has no cure and isolation is mandatory to help control the mass spread of the disease. The disease is not airborne but spread through transfer of fluids or touch. The disease has become political because of its spread to American citizens whom had been in Africa. The main concern for America is those people visiting Africa through mission trips and medical volunteering are interacting with people whom may be infected but not yet aware they have Ebola. There is also a governmental recognition that the disease could be used in warfare to infection American people and spread the disease quickly across the country. The World Health Organization also just recognized the Ebola outbreak as a health emergency. Although the disease has taken the lives of close to 1000 people already, aid is being given to those infected and they are isolated from others to avoid the further outbreak.
The NPR did a story on why anthropologist have joined the outbreak team and written by Linda Poon. Anthropologist, Barry Hewlett was recruited to help give insight to the disease and its containment, showing the importance of anthropology in the medical society. Barry also describes the scene in a couple doctors without borders locations where people were not bringing their loved ones in for help to see doctors. It took anthropologist to help the family members understand the disease as well as cope with the things going on around them. The disconnect between medical doctors trying to do their job and people not understanding what was happening was connected by anthropologist.
Cowell, Alan, and Nick Cumming-Bruce. “W.H.O. Declares Ebola in West Africa a Health Emergency.” New York Times, August 8, 2014.
Poon, Linda. “Why Anthropologists Join An Ebola Outbreak Team.” NPR.