Ebola outbreak continues in West Africa

Let’s talk about Ebola for a moment.

What a number of people don’t know (and if they did know, they may have forgotten), is that there is still a massive outbreak of Ebola raging in three countries – Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia – in West Africa.

Doctors without Borders (the American version of our Médecins Sans Frontières), the health organization working to stop the outbreak, says it’s out of control and Dr. Peter Piot, the man who discovered it, says the outbreak is unprecedented.

Here’s why this outbreak in particular sucks:

  1. You don’t want Ebola, seriously, up to 90 per cent of people who get it die, there is no treatment, and how you die is particularly unpleasant.
  2. It’s in three countries (the first time an outbreak has spread over multiple borders) and in capital cities – usually it’s found outside major centers. There was an outbreak in Uganda when I was living there and I had no concerns.
  3. It’s actually pretty hard to catch Ebola. You could ride the bus with someone and be fine. Transmission requires very close contact. This means it’s a dysfunctional healthcare system in these countries that allows the outbreak to continue – at least that’s what Dr. Piot is saying in an interview with Christiane Anampour on CNN.
  4. People are so afraid of the virus and the isolation that comes with testing to see if you have it, that they are running away from (or in some cases threatening) health workers. So it continues to spread.

There still isn’t much known about Ebola, in fact researchers still are not 100 per cent sure where the virus originates (the belief is from a bat).

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