Before we get into this post it is important that you understand what the Ebola virus disease is. It’s pretty damn scary I’ll give you that but not quite as scary as the media would have you believe. EVD is a serious illness that requires a serious response from healthcare providers, most of them poorly equipped and trained to deal with it. Nobody expected the outbreak to spread this far but with the advent of air travel disease pandemics are a stark reality that we should, by now, be prepared for. The Ebola Virus Disease, or EVD for short, is a disease that affects primates caused by the Ebola filovirus. Symptoms start between two to twenty-one days after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain, and headaches. Typically, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash follow, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. Around this time, affected people may begin to bleed both within the body and externally.
That said the hollywood bleeding from all orifices image you have in your head right now is a pretty rare occurrence, I read somewhere that it happens in very few cases. Bleeding does happen but it is rarely the horror movie-esque vision we’ve all come to associate with contracting EVD. The main thing that scares people is the lethality of this virus which is up to 70%. Usually this would be a blessing in disguise in that the virus would not spread very far but in the modern world the long onset of symptoms actually works in the virus favour. Think about it, how far could you travel by air within 20 days? An outbreak in Africa could reach Europe in that time and begin a brand new outbreak half way across the globe. Luckily the person isn’t very infectious before the onset of symptoms. If it was infectious before symptoms presented then the lethality of EVD would be unprecedented.
It is actually highly unlikely that a widespread outbreak would occur in Europe or the USA because of advanced medical infrastructure, sadly Africa will not fare as well. Another thing that is unfortunate is that due to the nature of the disease healthcare providers are the ones at the highest risk of contracting EVD, as we’ve seen recently in Europe and Africa it is usually the Doctors and Nurses who suffer at the hands of EVD when carrying out vital work to stabilize their patients. One thing that really gets me is that the worlds response to Ebola has been piss poor. Nobody gave a damn when this began and now it’s on our doorstep, only now are we working toward a vaccine and/or cure for it. I’m guessing it was assumed it would burn out much like previous outbreaks. Well it didn’t and here we are, it angers me slightly that nobody is concerned until it is on their doorstep. Such is humanity.
I can’t believe how twisted some people’s perceptions have become, whether it’s from sensationalist headlines of blatant prejudice. The media’s understanding of EVD seems to be largely hollywood and if the media are being so blatantly idiotic I probably shouldn’t expect individuals to be much better, especially the uneducated ones. Most people are unaware that you’re more likely to die of aids than Ebola. I’ve heard all sorts of shit, mostly racist shit from idiots talking as if Africans are to blame for a virus that has been around for a long time, accusing Africans of bestiality and saying the Ebola serves them right. I can hardly believe my ears at times. I’ve even heard people talking of glassing Africa in general. Then again the stupidity isn’t exclusive of white people. Many uneducated Africans don’t even believe Ebola exists because they can’t see it, yet they believe in god. Double standards much? People in the in Europe and the US don’t have the excuse of lacking education though.
Many people fail to understand the reasons behind the latest Ebola outbreak, even the ones who aren’t stupid are plain ignorant of the situation in West Africa. Make no mistake, it is an absolute clusterfuck. I’ll try to explain it the best I can. The economic situation in many parts of Africa is pretty dire, so much so that many people cannot afford farmed meat. A traditional market exists for bushmeat which has boomed in the wake to economic downturn, after all, people need to eat and nobody expects them to starve. Traditionally the people who collect bushmeat are highly knowledgable of the animals they are collecting, they would spot a diseased animal and avoid it. With the boom in the bushmeat industry greedy or just plain desperate individuals have entered the industry who lack the specialist knowledge of the veterans and from that you get people picking up diseased meat.
In most cases it isn’t a problem if it is prepared properly but with something like EVD if you cut yourself while preparing the meat you contract Ebola. Back to the economic situation, Africa is ill-prepared to deal with something like Ebola. They lack equipment and training which leads to healthcare providers becoming infected. Healthcare workers dying means less people to treat the disease. It is unfortunate but the situation in Africa is becoming unmanageable if it isn’t already out of control. What doesn’t help, again, is the lack of education and suspicious nature of the locals. Surely you’ve heard of the people who broke into the Ebola clinics and stole soiled bedding while releasing patients into a ghetto who will inevitably infect others in such cramped conditions. The whole situation is a clusterfuck and if we had gotten on top of it when it began we wouldn’t have three thousand plus dead on our hands.
I could hardly believe what I was seeing when a Fox News anchor was the voice of reason regarding the Ebola outbreak. That was something I thought I’d never see in my life time. Pigs can fly. I read somewhere that this Ebola outbreak started in 2013, so why does it take till 2014 and thousands of deaths to do something about it. That piss poor response coupled with people’s prejudices really annoys me. I’ve never been so ashamed of the people I live around. Is that person really promoting a genocidal ideology to stop the spread of Ebola? Their grandparents thought against fascism and this sort of shit and there they are condoning it. Ebola doesn’t discriminate, people do that. Shit like this feeds my misanthropy, there’s a part of me that believes the world would be a better place if they contracted Ebola but as I mentioned before Ebola won’t go out of its way to kill idiots.
I can only hope that we learn from this outbreak, lest it happen again with something far more contagious and lethal. This post probably came out nothing like I wanted it to be due to my becoming pissed off half way through writing it. I’ve wanted to write this for a while but couldn’t find a way to word it or set out the post.