Friday, October 10, 2014

Ebola - The next Spanish Flu

In 1918 the world experienced a flu pandemic that infected rougly 500 million people and killed 50 to 100 million of them. A huge disaster in human terms. Ebola could be the equivalent of the flu pandemic this century. This is especially true if the spreads beyond its current borders It is estimated that in West Africa alone that the virus is under reported by 2.5 times as a minimum, that makes the 8000 confirmed cases more like 20,000 and with a death rate of 50% the problem is much wider than that officially reported. In West Africa we are dealing with the difficulty of access to areas, the problems with having diagnostic facilities to confirm the actual incidence of the disease and also the mistrust of local people who are unwilling to accept that this is actually happening. This disease needs a concerted effort to contain it in the areas that it already has a strong grip on and then wait it out until the disease disappears naturally. ie no one left to infect. In the mean time we need to find a cure or better ways to treat it that results in far fewer deaths. If you have been planning a trip to West Africa, cancel it. Many of the health care workers have themselves become infected and died. This is not a situation to be triffled with. The disease spreads easily and is obviously very contagious. It has an unpredictable incubation period and the dead are apparently contagious for up to 3 days. We must not be hysterical about the situation but we do need to isolate the disease where it currently is if we want to avoid another catastrophic event.

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