One of the fears that I have heard expressed about the Ebola virus is now that it is in the U.S. — outside of “safe rooms” — it will spread all over and be the end of civilization as we know it. I’m not sure that the doomsayers have much more to go on than their own angst or the arms-in-the-air media which trumpets fear and horror on a daily basis. But think about it. Africa for all of its diminished hospital/medical capability, contaminated water, hygiene and nutrition issues and impoverished population is not being ravaged with the Ebola virus. In fact Ebola has been pretty subdued.
Ebola was first identified in 1976 and since then has made its way through various African countries. Fatalities have numbered from a few hundred to a few thousand annually. Yet this viral outbreak is nothing like the Influenza epidemic of 1918-1919. World War I killed 16 million people. But the Flu Epidemic in the two years following the war killed nearly 50 million people. 1/5 of the world’s population was affected. Today we have better knowledge about and resource against the flu. And Ebola – while a problem which is nearly incurable – remains muted. Ebola is transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids. It is not an airborne virus. It’s actually difficult (all right – make that “not easy“) to catch. And there are clinical trials on treatments for the disease. Things are – cautiously – looking up.
I still have my government-issued WHO medical history card (which I keep with my passport). It contains all the vaccinations and immunizations that I’ve had. It’s required for entry into some countries. It might be a good idea for America to resurrect a more stringent admission requirement for those entering the country. Legally or illegally.