Ebola has been the headlines in the “Twitosphere” as of late, matched with comments of “Why should I be scared, our advanced health system will protect us” and other misnomers. Now generally I am one to downplay things and keep people calm, however when it comes to a disease that now has a 70% mortality rate according to the World Health Organization (WHO) via CBC, I am pretty damn scared. Not because of its lethality, but because of the lack of Government participation is properly guaranteeing the situation. Because no-one of power is taking it seriously.
What irks me more however is that people think that because we are in a 1st world country we are some how magically protected because of our advancements in medicine, be it our better immune system or better health care. However these mean little with a disease like Ebola.
Let take on the Medical Care system first. First World Countries DO have better health care, absolutely. And your chances or dying of Ebola are greatly reduced if you seek medical care when symptoms first appear. Obama stated that the US Healthcare system can take care of its own, and it will be prevented (saw a video, but now cannot fine it). However, with the confirmed case in Texas earlier this month, the health care system failed. The man was sent home with a high fever (one of the first symptoms) instead of being treated. This of course gave opportunity for even more people to get infected. So much for containment Mr. Obama. Oh, and one of the workers who treated the man, now has ebola as well and she was wearing protective gear. Still feel safe?
How about we attack our immune system next. Yes our immune system is better in most cases than any 3rd world country, but that by no means makes us any more immune to such a high mortality disease. First world health care workers who contracted the Ebola disease while helping in Africa still died. In fact, a UN worker just passed in Germany. So please, do not think that because you are in the best of health, that your chances of either not contracting the disease or no possibly of dying from it, are any better than anyone elses.
The problem is, no one is taking it seriously. It took the states 5 months to put in screening procedures at airports, but only 5 of them. And the worker who got infected in Madrid, while treating a patient who became infected in West Africa, was only given 30 minutes of training on how to use protective gear. If the world does not step up soon and start education healthcare workers how to protect themselves, and properly guaranteeing infected areas, then we should be afraid.
I am starting to wonder, why don’t they just close off the borders to these infected countries. Do a country-wide quarantine. No plans/trains/boats/cars leave the country. Only Med supplies and med staff allowed in. This way, the infection doesn;t spread. However instead of that they are relying on other countries to screen passengers coming from infected countries, some don’t even have proper procedure.
So yes, I am scared, and rightfully so. If you are putting your trust in the Government to protect you, or believing that because you from a FIrst World country your risk is low, you are sadly mistaken. Untill the government takes the risk seriously and all traffic in and out of infected areas are stopped, there is always a chance of it spreading further.
We have already had 3 scares here in Canada (Edmonton, Belleville, and Ottawa) 2 of which so far have been cleared as non-ebola related (Edmonton and Ottawa), but the threat is real.
Now some will say “Well you can’t possibly get infected unless you come in contact with mucus, puke, sweat, or any other bodily fluid of someone who is infected”, and your right, for the most part, I mean you could become infected if you run into the original source in West Africa (believed to have been bats), but why is this a factor? Just because a virus is not airborne or transmitted through the water source doesn’t mean its not a real danger. Take one infected person to sneeze in the middle of downtown Mumbai (india), Kolkata (India), Shenzhen (China), Taipei (Taiwan) or Shanghai (China), some of the most densely populated areas of the world, and see how well your Medical Advancements can help. It only takes one to infect hundreds. Sure less densely populated areas will be unaffected, but large metropolises and major cities are a high risk.
I am not saying we need to freak out, run for the hills and bunkers, at least not yet, but if the governments of the world don’t start doing something about properly containing the threat, we might as well.
I have been following Ebola primarily on the CDC’s website, and I suggest you do too. Its better to be well-informed and prepared, than mis-informed and dead.