Ebola in West Africa

I chose to discuss Ebola in West Africa for a multitude of reasons, the main one being that I have a friend who is currently volunteering in Ghana, a country in Africa that is neighboring the countries suffering from this epidemic. I am obviously very concerned for him, so I thought it would be a great time to become more educated on the topic of the disease. Not only that, but I myself was just recently volunteering in Ghana, so the devastating consequences of what can really happen while you are abroad is hitting me hard. Global experts who are currently abroad have declared this Ebola epidemic and international health emergency that needs help from a global standpoint. This disease is crazy. It has been described as “one of the world’s most virulent diseases.” It is highly contagious and kills anywhere from 50%-90% of the people who become infected from it. There is currently no vaccination for it, which is a reason it needs to be carefully looked at by people all over the world, in the hopes of finding a cure for the disastrous disease. Early symptoms include a fever, headaches, weakness, muscle pain, and a sore throat. One might even think they only have the common cold. However, these symptoms later progress to vomiting, diarrhea, kidney and liver damage, and internal and external bleeding, due to organ failure. President Obama has addressed the disease and has stated that they are working to help those suffering from it, or from the fear of catching it. However, a statement will only go so far. There needs to be action, to stop the disease from spreading and to find a cure for it. Unfortunately, many of the doctors and volunteers that are trying to help people who have the disease end up contracting it themselves. There is controversy over what is to be done with these people, because putting them on a plane to be treated in our country puts the lives of American citizens at risk. The spreading epidemic is frightening and will hopefully be put to rest in the near future.


Karimi, Faith. CNN Health, “WHO: Ebola outbreak in West Africa .” Accessed August 8, 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/08/health/ebola-outbreak/.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Vu Ho says:

    Currently Ebola are all over the media. With the lethality of Ebola are very high as high as 80’s percentile. With Ebola having a high potential of lethality it is also very contagious. With the media information about Ebola in the wealthier countries because of the ability of getting the media source it seems that the country with the Ebola outbreak not being well informed.
    Like many countries in Africa that have the Ebola outbreak it have something in common, lack of fund and resource. The news even describe that the health professionals cannot afford gasoline. In the video unlike the medical facility that we have in United States, the area where the Ebola patients reside and being treated are in a crude area. They are in an open dirt field with plastic sheets covering the sun. In my perspective getting enough fund to provide a better environment for the Ebola patient could help.
    For right now there is no known treatment for Ebola, but recently with Two American with Ebola have been treated with an experimental drug. Still experimental and fear of possible side effects are the problem to release the drug. So their hope to treat the Ebola patients are is to obtain the drug with minimal side effects.

    By applying anthropology, it allows me to think in detail about the global health. One application is questioned why there such an outbreak in Africa and having trouble containing it. By knowing what question to ask, it allows me to search for better answer in detail.

  2. Francesca Rogers says:

    In a report by CNN, medical officials including numerous anthropologists are studying the Ebola outbreak. They have claimed it as a public health emergency that is in assistance globally. To make people aware of this virus, they have brought its attention to the media. The prevention of the Ebola virus is known but not very well practiced in third world countries where it spreads the fastest. Anthropologist’s methods are to stop the spread of the disease by keeping clean water and eating areas, away from the areas that have been contaminated with feces. The poor living condition of these individuals is what makes the virus so threatening.

    Applying anthropology has contributed to a better understanding of the global health problem by studying the cultural background of the natives in Africa. This allows other people to understand the circumstances that the natives are going through. By allowing the involvement of the anthropologists, they are better able to explain the start of the situation and have a better idea of how to prevent. As I have stated before, it is important to under a culture before applying a type of treatment. Not every culture acts the same way, which is why it is best to study their behaviors and believes.

  3. Ava Peera says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post about the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. I hope that your friend makes it back to the United States safely. I also wanted to learn more about the disease since I have heard so much about it in the social media. The author of the article takes into consideration multiple approaches when discussing the Ebola outbreak. He uses the ethnomedical approach and the applied approach. The article discusses how the disease is located in a certain region but how the virus has the potential to spread to many other areas, which is why it is considered a global problem. Health professionals also work with the people in West Africa in order to try and figure out why the epidemic started in order to try and get rid of it. Applying anthropology when analyzing the Ebola outbreak is very important. Using anthropology allows health professionals to approach the disease from various ways and take all factors into consideration. If medical professionals went to West Africa and simply wanted to attempt to cure people they would just prescribe medications and leave. Anthropology allows professionals to look at reasons why a disease is occurring and then using that reason to help prevent the disease from spreading.

  4. Ashley Lathrop says:

    This epidemic that is spreading through countries is Africa is so hard to watch. I feel so awful for the citizens there and I think it’s an amazing selfless act for those that are volunteering and working tirelessly to help those affected by this. The epidemiological approach is what is used in this article. This studies the control of diseases and distribution of that disease along with prevention and control techniques. Focusing on Ebola, health care officials are trying to contain the virus and figure out a way to prevent others from getting it. Unfortunately, there’s no cure so the prevention is the key. I think this was and is a big issue when deciding to bring the American’s home that had Ebola. We know how it is transferred and that is helpful in that we know how it is distributed and how it can spread. The biggest issues are containment and prevention. Until there’s a cure, these are the two biggest components in getting this disease under control.

    Furthermore, when patients get early care, it might be their only shot to live and even then there’s such a slim chance of survival. Anthropologists may help with the education in different societies and cultures to make them understand that the stigma attached to the Ebola is not nearly as deadly as not getting help.

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