Ebola epidemic worsens in West Africa

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Photo contributed by CDC

Andrew White Cleary and David Fiumano

Although over three thousand people have died and the toll is rising, many seem to know very little about the ominous disease behind this multitude of deaths. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has infected roughly four thousand individuals, and the World Health Organization projects 15 thousand more cases of infection before its containment. The outbreak, which has affected several countries, such as Guinea and Liberia, is spread through bodily fluids, including blood, sweat and saliva. In some cases, touching an infected person without protection is enough to cause an infection. This will be a major obstacle to overcome in containing Ebola in urban areas.

“I know about the U.S. doctor and the nurse who were in Liberia who were successfully treating in the Atlanta CDC Center,” social studies teacher Kathryn Van Nuys said. “I know that they are talking about it spreading to the cities in Western Africa, which would be a problem.”

Though some are more knowledgeable about the outbreak more than others, students and faculty members share similar sentiment on how to halt the spread of the disease.

“Send doctors, send aid, but that’s about as much as we can do,” sophomore Sean Pogorelc said.

Sophomore Noah Jamison expressed concern about Ebola spreading to the United States.

“Don’t let a lot of people come back to the United States without checking them, as a health courtesy,” Jamison said.

Van Nuys believes the West should play a greater role in preventing Ebola from spreading to other countries in the region.

“Politically, [the West should] be making sure that there’s money to make sure [the outbreak] gets contained,” Van Nuys said. “I know there is a vaccine being created.”

Some have suggested the Ebola virus is a secondary concern because of other international crises, such as the proliferation of ISIS and the Ukraine conflict, and that these issues deserve more news coverage and awareness.

“I don’t think [Ebola] is getting glossed over,” Van Nuys said. “Could [the news] talk about it more? Yes, but it seems to be relatively contained to West Africa, so I think in general, the news gives people what they are interested in.”

Nonetheless, it is important to understand the risk Ebola poses to regional as well as international stability.