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article imageOp-Ed: Ebola is not a world crisis

By Robert Weller     Oct 31, 2014 in Health
New York - No amount of television news coverage of front page stories is going to convince Americans that Ebola is a threat.
It simply isn’t. It is not a world crisis, either.
The disease does demonstrate how dysfunctional the world is. World powers could send an armada of hospital ships to the West African coast, accompanied by troops and volunteer health workers, and contain the disease quickly.
Focusing on the anti-science of U.S. leaders who want to jail hero nurses who do not have the disease distracts from what needs to be done.
Americans know there is not going to be Ebola in their malls and supermarkets. They brush aside the nonsense.
Republicans sought to use the phony Ebola threat against President Barack Obama, who was among the first to take strong action against the disease.
The fiasco in Texas demonstrates the kind of leadership that can be expected from the GOP.
Just how silly it can get was demonstrated when a Maine judge caved in and ordered a mini-quarantine on nurse Kaci Hickox. She can go outside but must not get too close to people.
It was as if he was saying close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.
After reporting from Africa for 14 years I left with little doubt about how much America and Europe cared about the continent.
Remember that after it first was observed in 1976, a vaccine was developed in the U.S. in 2005 and left on shelves. Six further outbreaks occurred before the present one.
Less than 5,000 deaths in Africa wouldn’t draw most reporters from their offices. Less than 10 people have died outside the continent.
The greatest danger facing the world is the smug feeling that it can deal with these filoviruses. The next one may be far more deadly.
“After an era of rapidly increasing control of many infectious diseases in the industrialized world, it was believed that advances in medical technology such as the development and implementation of vaccination strategies and the wide use of antibiotics, would eventually lead to the control and eradication of most of the infectious diseases that have plagued mankind over the centuries. The emergence and re‐emergence in the last few decades of a whole range of infectious diseases, most of them caused by viruses coming from the animal world (Kuiken et al, 2003; Osterhaus,2001), made it painfully clear that infectious diseases will continue to have a significant impact on global health and economies,” reports EMBO Press in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
The world needs an early warning system.
“The recent filovirus outbreaks in Africa underscore the need for improved disease surveillance and early warning systems, which become increasingly important for diseases of relatively low occurrence, but with a major public health impact at the international level (Kuiken et al, 2005).”
The most helpful sign is that these diseases often seem to be self-limiting, meaning they stop because they kill their hosts.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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