Over 2000 victims have already been claimed by Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, but throughout the world there is something spreading much quicker: Ebola hysteria. Currently, there have been efforts to gain a vaccine for the disease, but there are far deadlier diseases that are closer to home.
Like many other diseases, Ebola has been around for some time. It was first reported in 1976 in Central Africa. The virus is not contagious; it is only spread when living organisms come in contact with the bodily fluids of the infected, such as their blood. The top reason why Ebola is fluent in Africa is because families take care of their dead and may come in to contact with such fluids due to a lack of sanitation.
If you are planning to take a trip to areas such as Uganda, Gabon, or South Sudan, it is very unlikely you will ever come in contact with Ebola. Currently, there are already developments for a cure for Ebola. Sometime in the future children might be getting shots for Ebola like they get shots for the flu.
On the other hand, a greater evil lurks in the distance, and it lives in something we all hate: mosquitoes. It’s malaria.
Malaria is another life-threatening disease that hits closer to home, where it is transmitted to people through infected mosquito bites. It is prevalent in Latin America and Africa, but it is preventable and curable through the usage of mosquito nets. In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 207 million malaria cases, and an estimated 627,000 malaria deaths.
Besides Malaria, the most reported deaths come from heart disease, HIV and AIDS. HIV and AIDS have no cure, so it’s surprising that people aren’t as concerned about this sexually transmitted disease even though it’s already infiltrated the U.S.
In 2011, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported about 2.5 million new cases of HIV. In 2010, 30 million people died of AIDS. Meanwhile, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing about 600,000 people every year.
“There is zero danger to the U.S. public from the Ebola outbreak in general. People who have Ebola are not walking around on the street. They are very, very sick and pretty much confined to
a hospital and to a bed,” said Amesh Adalja, a member of the public health committee of the Infectious Disease Society of America, and an infectious disease doctor at the University of Pittsburgh, in an interview with the Washington Post.
Although WHO reported the Ebola outbreak to be a worldwide emergency, there’s a high chance Ebola will never end up in the United States. Despite the infected health workers have been transported back to the U.S. to receive treatment, vaccines have already been made that have cured them.
Instead of mourning those who have passed or have been infected by Ebola, we’re more worried if Ebola will ever touch us. Like many diseases, Ebola is evolving but the same goes for the common cold, yet no one is freaking out about that.
We, as Americans, are likely to face hypertension before we ever lay eyes on Ebola—it’s here, but we are only viewing the disease through a television screen.
Vaccines are being made. Chimpanzees infected with the disease have already been cured. Now there’s just testing the vaccines on human volunteers. While the health care workers who have devoted their time to helping the infected only think about the lives of others, we were thinking about the deaths of thousands.
Over time developing vaccines eventually will be used on human patients then soon, once Africa’s health infrastructure stabilizes, the vaccines can be officially transported there. Until then, Ebola will just become something of the past.