Such is the hysteria. Ebola outbreaks have occurred periodically since before 1976 (the year the virus was successfully isolated and given a name), mostly confined to relatively small areas in Africa.
What’s different now?
Well, there is a lot more international travel, for starters. Anybody who has the resources to leave the plague areas is going to do exactly that (I would probably do the same thing given those circumstances).
More than one strain of Ebola has been identified in this outbreak, so we know it has mutated. Each of the strains appears to be roughly equally deadly, but there is enough difference that a vaccine for one might not work for all.
For the first time, there are Ebola transmission cases that occurred in the US. The first victim has died already. The fact that he was black prompted the “Rev.” Al Sharpton to declare that Mr. Duncan’s death was due to “racism,” demonstrating that Sharpton 1) knows less than nothing about the disease, and 2) he excels at projecting his own racism. How the Ebola virus was able to tell that Mr. Duncan was black is beyond me. Nevermind that Duncan lied to the healthcare workers about his travels and possible exposure to the contagion.
Now there are two healthcare workers who have Ebola due to exposure to Mr. Duncan, one black (there’s that racist virus again), and one half-Vietnamese (OMG, it’s picking on racial minorities!). It’s possible that those two women (OMG, it’s now SEXIST!) may have transmitted the illness to others.
There is another (indirect) problem, which is, thanks to the current Campaigner-in-Chief, our border with Mexico is essentially completely open. Here’s a possible transmission vector: The Chinese government has had several thousand oil workers in or near to the Ebola-plague area for over a year, and has transferred many of those workers to South America. Sound pretty ominous to me. Also, several of those workers have returned to China over the past few months.
It’s quite possible that China has an Ebola problem that it either doesn’t know about yet, or does know it, and is actively lying about it. You might not want to travel to China in the near future. Or South America.
So, how bad is it? Or, rather, how bad is it going to get? Nobody really knows, and anybody who claims to know is lying. That, of course, includes nearly everyone in Washington, DC.
My guess is that most of the damage done by the Ebola virus in the US will be caused by hysteria.
The disease is transmitted by contact with bodily fluids (vomit, saliva, blood, etc.). Although there is some current hysteria about the possibility of Ebola becoming airborne, the transmission rate for Ebola is actually somewhat lower than HIV, even in Africa (HIV doesn’t kill so quickly, allowing one person to infect many more people). In Africa, it is transmitted fairly rapidly because of poor hygiene, horribly deficient medical care, poor handling of food and water, and inadequate disposal of corpses.
The high death rate in Africa (approximately 60%) is almost certainly due to the same factors.
I think that Ebola is going to be much less of a problem in the US. Which is not to say that it won’t be a problem. There will be several more Ebola cases, and several deaths, but I don’t expect an epidemic, and I would predict that the death rate of Ebola victims is going to be much less than 60%.
Ebola survivors will find that they have very valuable plasma, which is currently the most promising prevention treatment for Ebola, at least until an effective vaccine is developed.
In my opinion, for what it’s worth, the Ebola hysteria is yet another reason for prepping, but I don’t see that it changes the type of prepping we should do at all. The most important things to a prepper are clean water and food (and firearms, in order to be able to keep that water and food), and Ebola hasn’t changed that.
Meanwhile, the current best, effective, and simple-minded way to prevent the spread of most infectious disease is to wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water several times a day, avoid touching your face with your hands except immediately after washing, and avoid contact with people who are ill. IOW, your mother was right.
That covers most infectious disease. Almost all of the others are avoidable by staying faithful to your spouse or significant other. Your mother was right about that, too.
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