Sunday, October 12, 2014


I ignored the talk of Ebola until a few days ago. Ebola has been famous for being really deadly, but really quick to burn out. Because the virus is so deadly, it typically is easy to find. Once doctors find patients they must only keep them isolated for a few weeks before they are either dead or no longer contagious. Close contacts can be monitored so they do not spread the disease much should they get infected. It seemed to me that this new wave of Ebola would follow that model.

The stories from Western Africa are getting pretty scary though. The disease has been destroying the medical teams which fight it, and few volunteers can be found to fill their ranks. Since two of the cases which have been treated outside Africa resulted in a nurse being infected, I just don't see how Africa has a fighting chance. There are probably another three months where a big international effort could bring the situation under control, but exponential growth will soon make even that sort of intervention implausible. The most likely outcome is that the disease will kill millions before it is brought under control.

Ebola still doesn't seem like a threat to any reasonably run country though. Even in Liberia, an average case of Ebola only infects one or two other people. In America, we could easily isolate cases quickly enough for the average case of Ebola creates less than one new case. Only a major terrorist attack or a mutation making the disease much easier to catch could make this disease scare me as much as car accidents.

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